News - October 6, 2010

Local train

I yawn as I lean over the railings of a building resembling a bus shelter at Arnhem-Presikhaaf station. I am just unable to keep my bum out of the rain.

Shivering, I watch the station clock hands tick forward excruciatingly slowly. 'Eleven thirty five', I mumble to myself. The local Zutphen train has just left without me. My first dinner party as a Wageningen student was just a few minutes' too enjoyable. I have already forgotten the party atmosphere I so recently left behind. A lift to Arnhem with a fellow student didn't help. I'm too late.
A raw gust of wind drives a splash of water down my neck. Oh, what did I let myself in for when I decided to carry on studying after my University of Applied Sciences degree?  When it stops raining for a bit, I walk over to the yellow boards with the departure times - perhaps the Wednesday evening train goes every half hour. Optimistically, I wipe the rain off the list of departures, only to stare at the footnote in unbelief. But that is what it says: the train that leaves at half past twelve runs on Mondays and Tuesdays only. All there is on Wednesdays is a train at one o'clock, stopping at every station. I almost keel over when I think that I will have to get up at five thirty tomorrow morning if I am to be on time for my lectures. I hold on tight to the bus shelter railings to prevent myself falling onto the soaking wet, cold platform.
An amorous couple appear on the platform. After an intimate good-bye kiss, they too discover that there is no train at twelve thirty. 'No, darling, of course I'm not going to leave you here all alone', I hear the boyfriend say. 'Come on, I'll take you home.'
I watch jealously as the two of them walk down the steps arm in arm. I examine my bag. The most loving object I have with me today is a pile of scientific articles that I should really already have read. What a lark, this business of carrying on with my studies after my first degree.
Rain-soaked underwear and lonely nights on a cold station. That's what they should really be putting in a Master's special.