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Sudden stops sometimes

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Sudden stops sometimes |

My eyes center on an indistinct point in the moving dark outside. The train is rattling on its tracks and makes a choochoo-choohoo-sound. With every “choohoo” I feel an almost unnoticeable tingle rolling up from my feet. The window I am looking through is reflecting a scene on the other side of the coach which distracts my vision: a couple making out. I focus my eyesight on the glass pane and observe the two for a while. She is sitting on his lap and has him by his hooded, thick jacket, pulling him towards her while simultaneously leaning into him. He is grabbing her butt and letting one hand slide under her coat, up the spine.

Then the train breaks.

She nearly falls off his lap and is thrown backwards, but he is quick to the saving catch and pulls her back up. Both break out into laughter. Behind them, on their window to the unlit tunnel outside, the standard warning sticker catches my eye. I cannot make out what it says in mirror writing, so I lift my head and turn towards them. The sticker behind the lovers reads:

“Sudden stops are sometimes necessary.”

The girl notices me and looks me straight in the eye. I don't care if she thinks I was watching them. I was. So I look back at her. A smile vanishes from her face as her boyfriend, bewildered by her change in mood, follows her gaze and notices me, too. There is nothing else for me to do, at least I think there isn't, so I turn around, back to my side of the train coach, and look out into the contourless dark. Even not watching their reflection, I know that they are not kissing again. They probably won't for the rest of the train ride. Should have read the warning sticker.

The choochoo-choohoo pulls me back into a trance. From my subconscious, a faint voice with a blunt question arises: “Why can't you smile?”

I wish for a sudden stop to be necessary, so that I would have something else to focus my mind on. But the choochoo-choohoo continues.

© wasmitworten 2022-05-22


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