This is material I have cut from my memoir-in-progress, Six Years In Slovenia.
I am at the Brestanica train station with 15 minutes to spare before the train to Brežice comes. She is actually here. I thought it was her when I came in, but I had my sunglasses on so it was impossible to be sure. Then I went out to the WC, when I came back I looked and it was her.
So here I am, sitting in my usual spot, ten minutes to the train, sitting here with her, but it’s impossible to say anything, it would be awkward, I don’t really know how I feel about her. I am repelled by my own traits in another, and ashamed of this fact. She sniffs, but doesn’t sound so congested as previously; she is wearing tights and skirt and the same boots and the same jacket. I feel like avoiding her, but not entirely.
Brežice train station, 7:12 pm. She is here, standing somewhat farther away. She keeps dabbing at her face; I wonder if she is crying or just wiping her nose. I wonder what little drama will play out on the train.
7:17. I get yelled at by the stationmaster. “Tukaj, gospa! Prvi peron!” Stupidly I realize the train is coming on track 1 which is usually for the Dobova-bound train. We aren’t moving but conductor came to stamp my ticket.
She was at the train station in Brestanica today, Friday 12:15 pm, and is at the train station Brežice at 7: 10 pm. So she must have a job or something in this town.
7:20 and we are still sitting here. I scratch my left eye and she scratches hers, in some odd synchronicity. I think she wants to know me, but I don’t want to be known.
The fluorescent brightness inside the train. 7:22. At last we are in motion. She sniffs and sniffs and sniffs. I think she is surreptitiously looking at me, but maybe that’s just because I am surreptitiously looking at her. She is accommodating, that is the word for it, a reed that bends in the wind; I am afraid my strange wild personality would overwhelm her, whether I would accidentally on purpose smash all her little glass figurines.
I am not mistaken. She IS looking back at me, turning her head so she can see what I am doing. It’s nothing very interesting, just writing and my hair is limp and greasy.
I wonder if she thinks this is a great mystery, when all I am doing is occupying myself in order to avoid eye contact. But humans send each other all kinds of strange messages even without eyes. People are transmitters who are broadcasting all the time. Everything is a message, every movement announces something about the person. I am getting tired of writing and the swaying train is making me a little sick, so I will continue this story at home if anything interesting happens.
Later, at home, 27 November 2009
So we get off the train. She half-turns her head, glancing at me. Her eyes tilt down at the corners. I think she looks sad. perhaps I have disappointed her with all this avoiding plus I did not greet her earlier. I try to smile a little, because I feel guilty, but I am not sure if it did anything more than tug feebly upward at the corners of my mouth.
We get off the train, she goes ahead, walking faster than me, with her little flashlight. She doesn’t look back. Though my shoes are squelchy and can be heard a long way off. We cross the bridge and walk up the hill. She crosses the street and goes up into the Trg, where I cannot follow. There, I lose her.
A dog barks, at her, not me, must not know her if he is barking at her. She passes the tavern and is gone. I look at each house there in the dark, some of the windows lit, which one is hers?
The road curves. I look up between buildings but it is dark and I can’t see her, if she is there. I think this must be the end of it for today, then I come to the end of the Trg, and think this is the point where she followed me that one time and stopped — just as I am thinking this, and looking to the point where I saw her that time, I see her standing on the corner of Trg and main street holding her flashlight, just standing as she did before, looking in my direction like she is waiting for me. As I approach, on the other side of the street, she turns and walks ahead of me. We walk for a while, then she crosses the street and walks on my side, though far ahead of me. She has an odd habit of walking in the street even when there is a sidewalk. I wonder where she lives, if not in the Trg, or if she lives there but is going somewhere else tonight, for what reason.
She crosses to the other side again and when the road splits, I think she is going the far direction, past the veterinarian, but she doesn’t; she crosses and walks toward the gas station. This is where cesta na ribnik turns off and I must turn and follow it home to Stolovnik; as I do I fancy I hear footsteps behind me but it could be the sound of my own shoes. I don’t look back. That would give away too much. I don’t look back until I’ve climbed the little hill at the entrance to Stolovnik and look back at the dark road; nothing is there; she must have gone on.
Read the mystery girl, part 1.
Read the mystery girl, part 2.
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