The Long Ride Home

When? It was last March. A year to the day. I was on the S-tog out in the country. All the way up front because I wanted to get to her as soon as possible. The train drove through the country in eerie silence; delayed for the first time since I had moved here. Across me sat a young couple looking at the passing countryside and cyclists under us on the road. The man had his left arm around the girl’s shoulder and tightly held her wrist. She had put her right hand on his left, and they were just sitting like that, pressed against each other with an indefinable closeness. I watched them as the train stopped and started again while the rest of us were jolted and thrown front and back from the inertia. I observed them; how nice it looked to see them unmoved by the laws of physics. 

It took so long; hours, the countryside was endless in its plains and impressionist colours. The sky got bluer and bluer as the noonday sun peeked out with her yellow rays. And she was so powerful when she parted the clouds as if flowers would begin to blossom immediately straight through the sky. The pink and green roofs approaching in the distant cityscape were visible through the black and brown leafy straws of those cold Nordic tree barks.

The weather was too warm, and the fields seemed to rest easily under the sunlight. By the time the warmth sent icy tingling sensations through my bones I could see straight and organized roads; highways where cars were coming and going like they knew their destination and had the freedom to turn whenever they wanted. But those roads didn’t lie as peacefully as the fields, in their sizzling grey cement and painted white lines; they were just there, like the rest of us. Finally, the city gleaned in the distance, where the glass orbs of the streetlights flashed in vain hope that they wouldn’t be needed if they really tried to hide from her. But the couple refused to hide from her, and in fact embraced her boiling lines of light. 

Then something unexpected happened; I got cold, and then colder and colder. And that red train kept thrusting along the tracks as fast as the day wanted to flee her rays. To make up for the delay I guess. Cognizant now that it was quite a long ride from Veksø to Frederikssund, and that the days should’ve been longer in the spring, I kept my focus on the couple whose hands were now clenched even tighter in each other’s grasps. Yet by the end, where she was probably waiting for me by the water, there were sloshing raindrops thrashing the glistening red train like foamy waves on white sand. Each one seemed to want to stare her in the eye, the eye that was now burning across the sky like hellfire as though there were souls to set aflame, where the lakes and canals and colourful impressionist houses were sizzling and boiling all across Copenhagen. None of it warmed me; not a spark of life except the sheer bliss I would get from seeing her, brought any jolt or zest to my tightening muscles or my stiff bones. Now she was getting bigger, and having employed the wind to part the clouds, there was only the tingling numbness of prickly needles grazing and poking against my heart; and I kept getting colder and colder and stayed the same size frozen on that seat looking out. Until finally, that yellow sun walked into the train and queried, “Why are you still on this train?”