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Thinking about those people you encounter on a train leaves you with a unique feeling

Thinking about those people you encounter on a train leaves you with a unique feeling Thinking about those people you encounter on a train leaves you with a unique feeling
Source : Folio Illustration Agency via Medium (cropped)
Traveler of the Century
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Traveler of the Century
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#encounter
#meeting someone

I can't help it, Hans went on, when I stay in one place for a long time I notice I don't see so well, as if I were losing my eyesight. Things begin to look like one big blur, and nothing amazes me any more. On the other hand, when I travel everything is a mystery, even before I arrive. For instance, I love going by stagecoach and observing my fellow travelers, I invent lives for them, speculate about why they are leaving or arriving somewhere. I wonder whether something will happen that will bring us together or whether we'll never meet again, which is more likely.

And, since it is almost certain we'll never meet again, it occurs to me this intimacy is unique, that we could remain silent or declare ourselves, you know the kind of thing; for example, I look at one of the ladies and think:

I could tell her right now "I love you"; I could say "Madam, I want you to know I care", and there would be one chance in a thousand that instead of looking at me as though I had lost my mind, she'd say "Thank you" or smile at me (my eye! said Reichardt. The lady would slap you in the face for being so forward), yes, of course, but she might also ask "Do you mean it?" or confess "It's been twenty years since anyone said that to me", do you see? What I mean is it thrills me to think that this is the only time I will ever meet the passengers in this stagecoach. And when I see how quiet, how serious they are, I can't help wondering what they're thinking as they look at me, what they must feel, what their secrets are, how much they suffer, whom they love.

It's the same with books, you see mounds of them in bookshops and you want to read them all, or at least to have a taste of them. You think you could be missing out on something important, you see them and they intrigue you, they tempt you, they tell you how insignificant your life is and how tremendous it could be.

Everyone's life, Alvaro declaimed in a comic voice, is both insignificant and tremendous.

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