Skip to content

12 Minutes To Malmo Redux

LUND TO MALMO — I stand at the station amidst the smells of tobacco smoke, heavy iron and foreign soil wet with foreign rain. My train hisses to a stop and I scan the faces around me as we push forward into the car. I sit across from some stranger. The doors close and the thing begins to accelerate, rocking side to side as it gains momentum. There is the rhythmic sigh and clatter of the rails and the darkening world flashing by the window. I think that I exist nowhere but in this car, my body moving forward through the land but contained within an anomoly of space and time. This, even, on a 12 minute ride from Lund to Malmo.

Perhaps it is being an American, from a mostly un-trained country. Perhaps being American in a strange land surrounded by conversations in unfamiliar tongues adds to my little adventure. It allows me to extrapolate 12-minutes-to-Malmo into a reasonable facsimile of the Orient Express and change the tired commuters around me into spies and killers and femme fatales, all on desperate missions or escaping to and from doomed liasons.

Soon this mode of travel may well become as commonplace as driving in Ohio. Perhaps too, for many Europeans, traveling by private car has a similar cachet — a taste of the open American road populated by cops and killers, beatniks and bikers. And I do miss my car. But for now, as the train pulls into Malmo central, I will step into the old station, call my Swedish lover as soon as I am sure I’m not being followed by that man in the trench coat and think, that perhaps I once knew the woman over there in the black leather jacket who is lighting a cigarette. But that was long ago, in Budapest, when she, and I, were both known by other names…

One Comment