A few nights go, while my housemates and I were having our nightly conversation, this cropped up,
“You write about your travels, don’t you write about anything else? The people you meet, the food…”
I looked at her and wondered how to relay these things on the Internet without appearing ostentatious to readers. After all, my stories would be mediated through my gaze, my perspective and my sole judgments. I know it seems such a waste that the greatest stories – of interactions between one person to another – are not logged, but I, too wonder with caution, which chapters do I pick out, which do I leave in the secrecy of my mind?
If you are reading this, hope you enjoy the first of such accounts:
While in Paris, I decide to take a day trip to Amiens specifically for her cathedral. It is the kind of morning where you wished you could snuggle deeper under your blanket, the kind of morning with light drizzles that seems endless and with mist in the air that effortlessly makes a name out of surrealism. I board the train at 6.50am and is in a secret delight on how empty the train is. The affairs of morning have always reminded me of abashed secrecies – the cold air seems to whisper the night’s disguises and the morning dew drips of yesterday’s wonders. I pick a carriage and stare sleepily at the nominal movements outside. After a while, a guy comes in with his earphones plugged in – I smile at him; starts to wonder if I would miss my stop if I nap for a bit.
He starts talking to me though. We speak with his limited English while I try as hard to get my words across. We spend the rest of our journey speaking(despite the language barrier) about different schooling cultures and his dreams on becoming a designer. As he leaves for his stop, he leans in hesitantly – and I immediately think, wow, they really take hugging as a greeting over here. Sigh, must I really? I am not big on physical contacts you see but out of politeness, I lean in too but I don’t get what I expect. Instead, I get a full-on genuine French kiss from a French man instead.
I am fully awake by the time the kiss comes to an end.
He smiles at me and asks if I have a number. Too surprised to conjure up a make-believe story, I give it to him and he says, “I will text you” as he leaves. I just stare.
He did text – surprisingly. We are still in touch. Nothing developed, of course nothing develops. I don’t fancy myself living a carbon-copy of romantic anecdotes where people find love during their travels. I am more short-term in that way. This experience though, does make train rides a little bit more exciting, no?
You never know what might happen the next time you take one.
P.S : Mum, if you are reading this, don’t worry. I am an adult now, I know how to manage on my own – most of the times.