Just like any other train

I am running late and have to rush to catch the train on time. When I sit in my seat, sweaty and panting, the ticket inspector approaches. „I don’t have one“, I confess, „Would you sell me one, please?“ I expect trouble, but he smiles widely, and answers: „Oh, with pleasure my dear. That makes 1,50 then, please.“ I hand him a fiver and without any further words he turns to walk away. „Hey, mister. Excuse me, sir.“ I jump to my feet and catch him by the shoulder and by surprise. Doesn’t he realize that I have given him too much? He surely must know. At least when I remind him of it. He must know that I have given him way too much.
But when I ask him for the change he just laughs and says: „Oh, there is no change.“
I am puzzled. He must be joking. But a look on his face tells me he is not.
„No change? Not ever?“ My words begin to tremble when I realize what he means. I scold myself for that, but I can’t change it.
„No. Never.“ He gestures towards the window. „Just take a look outside. You will realize: it’s all the same.“
I can’t follow his hand. I can’t and will not look out of that window, I just can’t watch it all go by. Instead I stare at him in horror and say: „But then I need to go back.“
He sniffs angrily. „What are you thinking, stupid girl. This is a one-way train.“
„And where is it going?“ My voice sounds desperate.
„Going from here to anywhere“, he said says vaguely.
„And where is that, anywhere?“
„Oh you’ll see, you’ll see.“ I don’t want to see. I’ve already seen too much.
„And if I don’t want to see? If I want to get off here, now, at this moment?“ I try to reach out to him, but my fingers don’t touch a thing.
„Oh, stop complaining“, he growls, but he doesn’t really seem to bother, „this train is not stopping, and you know that. You knew it all along.“ I don’t want to hear what he says, but his words easily cross the distance that my fingers couldn’t.
„You can hopp on anytime you want and that’s…“ he stops as the train lurches to a standstill. „We are here anyway.“
I hear the brakes, the sounds of the dying engines, the escaping air, and now, after all, I do take a look out of the window. „But there is nothing here.“
„You are mistaken. That is nothing here.“ As if that was nothing compared to other places. Or, and I start to shiver now that I realize it, as if nothing was a place.
„But you said this train would be going anywhere!“
He laughs, quietly and hoarsely. „My dear little girl. Didn’t they tell you in school that anywhere and nowhere do have the same ending?“


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