He was jet lagged from the flight over that morning and beyond tired. “Night Train” by Guns and Roses was playing on repeat in his head. “I don’t even like this song,” he thought to himself as he willed it to stop. It was not the first or the last time he would will it to stop. This cycle of having thoughts and then realizing they were repetitive was itself repetitive. He had had that thought a few times as well.
He had trouble understanding how to put the sheets on his bunk, and how many clothes to take off before sleeping. The other 3 men who joined him later found a big hairy American guy wearing pants, half covered by confused sheets, and snoring.
At 4:17am the porter awoke him gently, though of course the other 3 guys, bound for Rome, couldn’t help but stir as well.
“One how-er we arrive Bologna”
“One how her we arrive Bologna”
“Oh, ok. Thanks”.
Down the hall he found the door to the shower. It was a compact, naval affair. “Does this thing actually work?”. His thoughts were still sloppy but they had stopped repeating themselves and were at least topical. The shower worked. There was even a soap dispenser. When he got out he realized that he did not have a towel.
At 5:17am the train pulled into Bologna Centrale. He walked the length of the platform, still a little wet because paper towels don’t work well on big hairy guys. It was cold, raining lightly and he was at one with his surroundings: Dark, confused, damp.
Then a miracle, the station cafe was open. Busy even. He stopped in, ordered a cappuccino and a croissant. After paying he said thank you in German though he was in Italy. At a seat by the window he watched the dawn turn slightly grey as the rain fell on the steel rails of tracks 7 and 8.
The coffee was excellent. So was the croissant.