Friday, January 4, 2008

train ride

I arrive at the Milan train station 10 minutes before departure, out of breath. I’ve brought a book to read on the way but I am too excited.
The car is almost half empty, older men reading the newspaper, a couple of suits, a young couple giggling in their seats near the back and two women looking bored and distracted as only European women can.
The train left the station and I look out on the Italian countryside. Could it really have been 17 years since we were on our first train ride together? I remember it so well.
I had gone to that party at Anise’s not knowing anyone. You came up to me and started talking. We’d left the party three hours later and found a diner and talked all night. Our bill had been $4.85 and we left the waitress a $20 dollar tip.
“Let’s go on an adventure!” You had said. I had agreed and so two hours later we met at the train station. I had thrown a couple changes of clothes in a bag.
“Ever been to Vermont?” You asked. I shook my head. “Me neither.” We each got a ticket to St. Albans. We had to change trains after a couple of hours and spend another 6 hours on that second train. It was snowing outside and we watched the countryside transform softly. We laughed and talked and then we both fell asleep and awoke in that quaint little town. What was it called? Oh yes, St. Albans! Remember we stopped for lunch at a bakery where we had soup in bread bowls? So long ago, what happened to us?
I was amazed to find your name on the faculty list at the University in Bologna. I can’t wait to see you.

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