As it is usually said ….. Everything starts somehow, in an instant we decide, we inhibit ourselves before certain acts, we turn our eyes not to feel guilty, we keep deaf to the screams of the floor in front of us, we miss how this society is increasingly apathetic and lonely.
You know that I love to travel by train, it is a transport that relaxes my soul, it calms me to say it somehow, and its closest cousin, the subway, well, it is not the same, but as soon as I can, I try to use it, feel how it accelerates to start a new way….., that slowing down little by little to reach a new destination….., dozens, maybe hundreds of new faces leaving, entering, ending, starting, for me it is something cathartic perhaps, I really like it.
It has been while circulating in them, where some of the stories that I have been accumulating in my particular vital shelf have arisen, and perhaps for that reason, today it is time to confess.
It was just one more trip, tired of a long day, in my new job, the one that fills me with new sensations that I thought lost and in which the surprise arises continuously, and as in every trip I make, my eyes follow without stopping those around me, trying to imagine what thoughts, what stories have occurred in their day to day, who knows if I do not have in front of me a biochemist who is looking for the master formula for the cure of one of these diseases, who knows if there is not next to me a journalist who has on his agenda another case of corruption to reveal, a topic that unfortunately is not very new, maybe two seats ahead, the smile that is drawn on the face of that girl is the memory of a brief encounter, intense, fast, pure pleasure, with someone who would never have imagined … …. .so many stories….
And then there are the others, those who don’t look up from their cell phones, the ones who have their ears plugged with headphones in a thousand and one different ways, those who read electronic books, those who read paper books, those who look nowhere and don’t see, the others.
A new season has arrived, some go down and others come up, and in the latter there is a peculiar couple, different if I may call it that.
She must be in her forties, sober dress, with nothing that stands out, he must be a little over fifteen years old and just by looking at his face, you can guess that he has Down syndrome, not to a very extreme degree, but certain features are there and to hear him talk, well, it’s something peculiar.
Understand me, my daughter works in a dining room with kids like that, special, never handicapped, because there will be time on another occasion to talk about who is more handicapped, if those we consider as such, or those who are different from them, in short, after time to talk to her about her students, see her on one occasion, on an open day, how she related to them, how they were for her …. you understand why I consider her a very special woman.
Perhaps because of this, certain details alter my blood because of how we «normal» people behave, because you see how a space opens up between them, there is a free seat, three seats specifically, in which they sit down, her tired face is clear, as well as his worried face, He takes her kindly by the arm and helps her to sit down and when he turns around and sees someone who needs the seat, he tells her to sit down, but she says no, and after seeing a free seat in front of them, she sits down, calmer for not having to be with someone who could perhaps give her education, good manners and a more noble and generous heart than she undoubtedly deserves.
We continue the trip and the seat is still free.
The train is crowded, but the seat is still free.
At this point in her life, such a situation must not be new to her, maybe she has already made a shield against the scorns made with smiles, maybe it is just the daily chapter of a daily routine, no matter, she only has eyes for him, I see the pride in her eyes, that gesture to remove an imaginary speck on his shirt, the phantom speck that only mothers see.
I’ve been standing for a while and maybe I could go on like this until the end of my station, but I’m tired, so I sit down next to him and take out my book and start reading, maybe a couple of stations have passed when I notice his gaze fixed on the book and when I look up I see his lips reading the pages.
Her gaze shows some concern, maybe because he would not be the first one to show bad manners for such a fact.
He has not noticed that I am looking at him and continues reading and I see how his eyes shine as he reads the paragraphs, feeling what the writer wanted to convey.
Obviously I ask him if he likes it and after the surprise of having caught him in an act, to which his mother has no doubt warned him many times, he says a shy yes.
Who is he from?
We start a conversation in which he listens attentively as I describe the book, how it became an exceptional book, how it can catch you in its lines, how it can make you cry with emotion, make you laugh until you fall off your chair, make you sigh, I tell him how books do that and more, and how, and at that moment I turn to the lady who refused to sit with him, how they teach us to be better people, more polite and less hypocritical.
Maybe I have raised my voice a little, because I see certain complicit smiles around me, but I am not very conscious of it.
I ask her if he reads and she tells me that not much, question of time and possibilities, I make the comment about the electronic book and she tells me that she was given one but that she can’t put books in it, because she doesn’t know how it works.
I have only one station left, so I scribble on a piece of paper and give it to him.
It’s my mail, when you want a book, ask me for it and if I have it, I’ll send it to you, then you install it in the book and that’s it, you’ll be able to read.
His eyes laughed at the possibility, hers were only of pity for perhaps believing that it was just one more way of the cruelty with which, day after day, he inflicted blind humanity.
It’s been a little more than a month and today I received an email …… Hello, I would like to read Jules Verne ………. I think I have sent you more than fifty books.
*** Translated with http://www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version) ***