The Pensive Traveller


In the train carriage sat some weary travellers all going to Germany.  The Turkish lady, a mature woman in her sixties looked pensively at her fellow travellers. The American couple, who were also in their sixties sat in the two-seater opposite her.  In the seat beside her was a young African woman.  Her fellow travellers began introducing themselves and started chatting.

They turned to her to include her in the conversation, but she only gestured with her hands to indicate she didn’t know how to speak the language.  She proceeded to take items from her bag to show them.  “This was going to be like the silent movies.” the young woman thought to herself.  There was a photo of a soldier in a German uniform, next to him a pretty lady and two children.  Pointing to herself and then the man in the photo, we understood that was her son and his family.  It was going to be a family reunion.  How lovely.  She also had a passport and an official looking letter written in German.  Suddenly she went back into that pensive place again.

Though the landscape of Belgium the train moved towards Germany.  This was no Mystery on the Orient Express but it was intriguing.  Neither was it a Eurostar with its modern  amenities.   No matter what era, the gendarmes and immigration officers never change in their thoroughness of their duty.  In they marched and checked everyone, but spent a longer time with the Turkish woman.  She couldn’t speak French or English and the officers didn’t know what to make of her and were about to take her off the train.

Luckily the young African spoke a little French and convinced the officers to see the Turkish lady’s documents and they proved to be in order and onwards went they to their destinations.




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