She made her way against the stream of commuters and those catching an early train to a destination that had to be the beach, their attire as much as their happy faces offering this clue. Her battered suitcase, an old Louis Vuitton with fading stickers paying homage to far off destinations once travelled, bumped every so often into people on the jam packed platform. She had a good five more minutes before the red painted Thalys train would depart from Amsterdam to Paris. And from there…Lyon, Geneva, Lausanne, a detour to Vienna, and eventually Rome. It was to be a trip lasting her a month before she would take up a curator position at Galleria Doria Pamphilj – a small, but distinguished museum not far from the Patheon in the Eternal City.
The last 50 metres was a battle against the tide of people that offered formidable resistance. Her compartment, no 12 and allocated at the very beginning, was finally in sight, and with a minute to spare until departure she pulled up her heavy bag with all her might before sinking down on a folding seat. She whisked up her train ticket to confirm she was in the right carriage. Number 26 – window, non-smoking. It was luckily just around the corner and conveniently she discovered an empty space between the back of her seat and the wall where she placed her baggage. Not before long the train started to run, catching speed with every second. She installed her handbag on the empty chair next to her, praying silently it would remain so for the rest of the journey. The two seats opposite where also unoccupied, so she took off her flat ballerina shoes and rested her sore feet on the edge of the seat. Her head tilted against the window, her breath leaving an imprint on the cold glass. She traced the rim of the condensating area with her index finger, drawing a fluid shape in the form of a cloud, and within it an eye. The all seeing eye of Horus. It had become her signature doodle – whether on discarded napkins or milling over a to-do-list, they seemed to crop up everywhere….consciously or not.
“Excuse me! Hello Lady, excuse me!” My heart was pounding franticly having got on at the end of the train and worked myself up to the first class compartment. I studied the woman that was resting her bare feet on my chair. She seemed fast asleep. I touched her ankle, trying to gently push them to the side and onto the floor. This startled her, and she jerked, before sitting straight up with a bewildered look. Read more