I find trains to be much more disconcerting than airplanes because, although planes can be terrifying during takeoff and landing, at least when you're in the air it's impossible to feel yourself moving. Trains show you everything that's around at lightspeed as you pass by. It makes me think of the smallness of the train and how many things I'm missing, and how many more things I would miss, should the train crash.
My decision not to go home had been brought on by a subtly hellish week spent with my mother in Prague. She has a weird guilt thing with me, because although 99% of the time she doesn't give a shit about me- as evidenced by the fact that she sent me to a boarding school far, far away from her for my entire childhood- about three times a year she "calls" for me to be shipped to wherever she wants for shopping and what she calls bonding. I suppose it's not her fault that we can't relate to one another; she is just impossibly glamorous. She wears mink-collared dressing gowns, would never leave the house without a full face of makeup and who refers to people as darling, even if they're older than her. I always comply and go to her, and we spend about seven days shopping for things I won't wear and drinking champagne and not saying a word to each other. It's just about the saddest thing I know.
The train halted, and I slung my backpack over my shoulder. Stepping out into the sun was quite a change from the brisk October air in Prague. I began to sweat, and I didn't know if it was because of the weather. I walked into the bathroom of the train station, and splashed some water on my face. I looked very small, and too young. I rolled my jeans up at the cuffs, and wrapped my scarf around my hair. I put on some bright pink lipstick and adjusted my nose ring and grimaced at the mirror.
Walking around that city for the first time in three years brought to me an onslaught of memories, painful and pure. I saw the square where we all used to meet, the cafes we used to frequent, and the alleyways in which we hid and kissed. The knot was growing in my stomach because I was still so unsure of everything, and there was a great possibility that my efforts would be in vain.
I arrived at the same stone building with the same peeling paint on the door that had been there, static, for three years. I rang the doorbell to the apartment and waited. I looked at my watch. After a few minutes I rang the bell again and then sat on the stoop, facing the park across the street. There were beautiful children playing and I wanted to talk to them and tell them stories. I would have talked to anyone at that point, just to say something about my loneliness and desperation. I was so scared of being alone that I had traveled across the entire continent of Europe to meet someone I had loved long ago.
Someone sat down next to me. I turned and it was him, his eyes gave him away. Green as the sea, they remained constant, although the rest of him had changed a great deal. He said some soft words to me, and I could not contain myself as I threw my arms around his neck. The children seemed to stop playing, to watch this scene unfold for a moment.