: 17.06.2010




  Suicide and trains
  On the train. A lady gets in at Breda. She’s dressed in a black suit, has long black hair and sits down opposite me, promptly starting a long and loud, happy conversation on her phone. She sounds Spanish even though she’s speaking Dutch. At Dordrecht people get out and she changes places so as to sit by herself. Her face is aging; her teeth are brown; she has a good figure hoisted in its tight suit. Another phone call. Why don’t they go salsa dancing? She is going. It’s been so busy. Hasn’t had time to think. She can’t be bothered with anything else this weekend. OK. Another phone call. She now speaks Spanish, a Latin American Spanish, rapid like a machine gun. I think she mentions Peru. The conductor comes by, a heavy, glum lady with unfortunate lips folded over each other like an indifferently made up bed. She wants to see our tickets. The Peruvian lady complains to her about the three hour delay we suffered the day before. The heavy, glum lady ignores her and moves her big heavy body on to the next row of seats. Feeling herself ignored the Peruvian lady turns her nervously active face briefly to me and speaks half to herself. I am ignoring her too: stuck deep in my laptop. She sits back in her seat and later we both get up out of our seats to get out at Delft. The weather is lovely. Just before the doors open she turns to me. “You work hard", she says. I smile. "Three hours delay yesterday”, she says. “Yes,  I know,” I reply, shaking my head and folding my face into what I hope is an appropriate expression: “Someone in Best jumped in front of the train. The Dutch are a sombre lot." “I used to think, 'Oh how awful'”, she replies, “but now I just wish they would try and find some other way to kill themselves. Every time!” I wasn’t sure what that last bit meant, but I said, “well…” “Anyway,” she cut in, “it must have been a foreigner, it is the wrong time of year and the weather is good.” The doors opened, we stepped out onto the shadow of the train.


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