Notes from Nowhere

miðvikudagur, september 21, 2005


My compartment was one of those where we all, one by one, overcome the barriers of language and culture and find ways of relating. Of course, that means food. Jens and I made sandwiches; Anne opposite shared her flask of black coffee, the older couple across the aisle offered traditional waffeln with skivets of brun ost, slices of flavoursome brown goat's cheese. Touched, I elected now was the time to get that treasured bar of Dark Green and Black's from my bag.

Later a boy toddler and his round mother came sat on Jens' and my table. The chocolate was still going around, so they both had a piece. Boy obviously didn't take to such rich tastes, and ended up with mud coloured lips, going for the balance to the taste that only fresh mother's milk could afford. I offered my napkin.

We played 'talking shoe' to his sheer delight, to while away the long hours to Trondheim. Sadly he was one of those kids who only knows one word, and in his frustration to communicate (with which I felt a keen empathy), invented a seemingly endless torrent of, well, loud noise. I wonder if my ears and those of his mother were physically different, or whether we were of quite separate temperaments - for while I found it physically painful, she spent a hundred miles answering the torrent with occasional, reassuring sshhing noises. The boundaries in our compartment were not so relaxed that I felt able to contribute, which was a shame, because I was fairly sure that one scary face, a sharp sound, might save the quiet for the whole train.

After ten hours with such a variety of company, it was like 'clear clean water for to quench my thirst' to have a sleeper cabin to myself. I wrote and played and thought, and slept only when my head had realized that south, to sleep, was the only way it could go.


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