Wednesday, January 19, 2011

On a Train to Cairo

I sank into my seat with a huff just as the train began to roll away from the station. My ticket read seat 4, but the scarlet-tuqued woman with matching lip paint and nail polish was in no mind to give up her window seat. An empty seat across the aisle sufficed and was gratefully received after the crush getting onto car 5.
And so I was in seat 2, surrounded by plump sextenarians in seats 1, 3, and 4. The head scarves of 1 and 3 denoted their faith, but amber aviators, faux snakeskin shoes, and a studded handbag denoted spunk. 1 - my seatmate - wore a plum-colored scarf that almost matched the swirling patterns of fuchsia on her sweater. Giggles wafted across the aisle as the three conversed in fluid Arabic.

"Aah!" (the apparent equivalent for "hey" in Arabic) Something resembling a cheese sandwich was proffered across the aisle and across my lap. A half-sandwich was held toward me with a smile; I graciously declined. 1 chewed in silence and smiled; I smiled too. No need for small talk when even small words can't be understood. No discussion of God or Allah, why the first page of her book would be the last of mine, her covered hair nor mine pulled into braids. Just a knowing silence.

Michael Bublé serenaded 1 with "Sway" until she answered the call.

An adventure on a train with pals; spirit, vivacity, kindness; smiles. These women found the heart of life.
I aspire to be 1 someday.

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