Vrijdag in de trein
As he glanced up to see what the silent passengers were doing, those who were conversely typing away at their technological fiends, he closed his newspaper, took off his black-rimmed glasses which accentuated the darkly, tired bags under his eyes, and leaned his head against the seat as he everlastingly sighed an exhausted breath of fatigue. Fortunately, it was Friday afternoon; that meant his wife would be preparing his favourite dish; a congratulatory way of celebrating the end of yet another capitalistically-infused week.
As he imagined her standing in the kitchen wearing her apron and wiping her face with the back of her hand as her palms were covered in flour, he could not help but want to feel grateful for the life he worked so tremendously hard to create. He had a loving spouse who endlessly supported him, whether that was when he lost his job for the umpteenth time or his mother to that deadly disease of sinful reproach. Despite the uncertain beginnings of his journey, he is now steadily working a modest job with a relatively satisfying salary, even though almost half of it is drained to pay for public transportation. He may dread having to empty every inch of his pockets for the increasingly high train fare, however, the moment he steps in the locomotive and finds a seat to settle down, he is overwhelmed by a joyous feeling of ease; finally, he can indulge in those 30 endearing minutes and travel home from Amsterdam in absolute bliss; well at least until the aggravatingly, distasteful tourists start hopping on.
He looked upon the settling sunset at a clan of patterned cows and philosophized about the two groups of tourists he categorically established. First, there are those who simply wish to visit the Netherlands for its undisputed capital of freedom so as their sober thoughts can turn into desirably drunk words.
You imbeciles! he thought, isn’t our undoubtedly magnificent art, our advanced ecological mindset and tasteful bluntness not enough to satisfy your narrow-minded putrid souls? As his pulse rapidly raged in a turmoil of unsettled displeasure, he began to think of the other tourists, those of the quasi-extinct race, who come here to explore the country’s diversely charming cities, indulge in the spirit of the art museums and remember their stay on a most agreeable note; so much so that they decide to move and create a life of their own. How he envies those of the brave heart! He may think he has worked hard, but his efforts are incomparably effortless to those who have taken the grand risk of starting again in a country which, at times, may not always be the most welcoming. It is only natural to think of one’s own life as that of the most challenging, but is it not also in our nature to learn and to empathize and to reflect on not solely the mission of oneself, but also of those who surround us, whether they be in the streets, the shops or in the train?
As he kept pondering about such abstractedly unanswerable questions, the door opened and a young, dark-haired woman wearing a grey hat entered. As her hat was covering her eyes, he could not speculate upon her as much as he wanted to, so he simply looked in the other direction and continued to count the endless array of cows, thinking about how curiously funny it was to contemplate over such bizarre statements and such mysterious passengers. She sat right across from him and opened something that looked like a notebook. As she thoroughly read over it and started to write, erase, and then write more things with a pace of utmost haste, his station was called. He stood up, brushed past the woman’s thin legs and stepped out of the wagon knowing that he would most probably never encounter the passenger again.
The moment the door closed and he stepped off, she put her notepad on her lap and looked up, her round, brown eyes desperately seeking for the door to open once more so the man could come back and continue exploring his thoughts. She wished to continue meticulously reading him as he did her so she could try to understand why such heavily dark bags encircled the luminescent green eyes of the enigmatic passenger.