The train was crowded, twenty minutes inritardo (late), and near silent. Everyone seemed to be simultaneously lost in thought. I was half standing half perching on my suitcase facing the profile of a tall man with a gray sweater and legs that stretched out into the aisle. In his lap a little girl laid limp, her curls slightly matted to her fore head in a way that only happens in deep sleep. His wife stirred and decided to grab her coat which was tucked between them. He shifted this way and that to help her while the little girl just flopped a bit revealing the two slightly damp spots she’d left on his sweater.
He looked like the type of man that doesn’t speak much more than when necessary or when it really suits him. His jeans were dark, fitted, but not too tight and even though the situation seemed comfortable beyond the point of worrying too much about your appearance his collar was starched and his shoes were a combination of dress and casual, black with a purposefully shaped toe. He seemed very Italian but perhaps with close German cousins.
The little girls curls slipped delicately through his hands and wrapped behind her ear. He brushed away some crumbs on her cheek, gave a habitual glance to his wife and other daughter, then continued to stare ahead.
Suddenly I was happy to be going home next week. I stopped thinking of lists and felt my thumb brush over my fingertips. I want to sit on my couch at home, tuck my feet under my thighs and glance at my family without thinking too much. It’s those moments that are so comfortable and well worn that you are constantly too close and too far from recreating them.