A train to a bench

I only remember fragments, the screaming person on the toilet, the singing worker in the silent area, the sleeping train man, and the bench, where I rolled out my mat

A different world

Text and illustration by Frits Ahlefeldt

Looking at the tickets online one of them was only a fourth of the price. I could afford that. Only trouble was, I had to spend the whole night on trains, and with a two-hour break in between on a cold station

I found a seat in the dedicated silent area on the train, thinking it bettered my chances of sleeping a bit, and sat down, placing my backpack in sight, down between two seats, as the train left the station.

A tired, dirty-looking worker in safety shoes was singing, an elderly lady hissed at him, but he continued, I looked over, plugged into his earphones, with closed eyes he had no clue.

As he fell asleep the song stopped, the train worker across from him fell asleep right away, also wearing headphones, sitting straight up, in his railway uniform, in front of his iPad.

As the train became quiet, I could hear new sounds, from the locked toilet a voice was yelling angrily, not in fear, apparently, just in affect. Knocking on the walls from time to time and then cursing the world.

Nobody took much notice, it was like the polite person, not wanting to disturb the sleeping train too much, but still with a need to yell at everything, had decided that the best place to let the anger run free was at the toilet.

As the train had two toilets, it was not too much of a problem. On my way down to the last toilet I passed through the train, most were backpackers, or tourists on their way south, like me to the border to Germany.

At 03:07 in the middle of the night the train stopped shortly at a station, I stumbled out together with most of the backpackers and tourists, tired wheeling their small suitcases towards the stairs. We had to wait two hours at the station for the first morning train south and walked under the tracks through a tunnel to the waiting area.

A clean, but bit run-down hall with benches, designed with dividers to stop people from sleeping on them. People sat down, took blankets out, and tired-looking couples huddled together, some watching phones, others talking quietly and eating snacks.

In the corner were a couple of benches without dividers. A homeless-looking man was sleeping on one, I took the other, rolled out my mat, and put on my jacket. Used my backpack for resting my legs and pulled my hood up to avoid the cold station light, and fell asleep fast.

Keywords: logbook, diary, notes, travel, public transport, waiting room

Log, text and illustrations by Frits Ahlefeldt. FritsAhlefeldt.com

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