A narrow bunk bed, clean white sheets and a pillow in the form of a square. A small rectangular window, providing a view to the outside world. A decorated brown curtain on a rail, providing privacy from the world inside the train. My private little habitat on the night train to Butterworth.
The window provides me with the view of a light dotted Kuala Lumpur, when the night train departs and snakes out of the station. Then, when we slitter into more rural places, I am mostly entertained with a theater of darkness. Sometimes small lights pierce through the theater curtain. Looking at them, quickly passing by, like falling stars, I feel like I am a very small object. Floating through a dark universe in my little spaceship.
Whenever the night train reaches a station, it feels like we are the temporary visitors of a small unknown planet. Each station seems unattached from reality, and the rest of the world. What is it doing here in this black universe? Is it just floating around in an endless see of darkness?
New people emerge on the train. They speak to each other in a strange language. Words and sounds which I do not understand. Probably the local language on this small stroke of light and concrete, surrounded by the dense black jungle.
The night train continues its journey, slowly traveling from one planet to another. Picking up passengers along the way. Passengers who normally provide live and culture to those small planets. For a short moment however, everybody share’s the world of the train. The train cabin becomes a travelling bee hive, smelling of sweet culture, buzzing from strange languages spoken.
I lay on my bed staring out of the narrow window. Somehow train travelling at night makes me sad. In my thoughts, the moving train, and the changing view outside, represent a vastly passing life. A life where I constantly look for answers in the dark. Sometimes there seem to be solutions floating around. Piercing trough the darkness, in the form of small and hopeful lights. When seeing those lights, I want to grab them, and hold on to them tight. They seem like touchable objects, providing answers and revaluations. Yet the train moves on. To fast to capture any clear images. To fast for me to grab the truth or the reality.
Unable to grab the present, I often try to imagine about what lays ahead, when the train reaches its final destination. Yet even so often I end up thinking about what is left behind. Imaginations of Butterworth turn into memories of home, old memories of a past live. I guess living in the darkness makes me crave for something familiar.
For now I try to hold on about one certainty. Out of this darkness will emerge Butterworth. That is the destination I am going to. However, the outcome of what will happen at that destination is still dark and unknown. I imagine being some sort of space astronaut. Traveling to a strange and exotic destination. Not knowing what will happen when I arrive. Like an episode of Star Trek. The crew heading out to examine the the creatures on an exotic world which is being called Butterworth. B-u-t-t-erworthhh I mumble before I fall a sleep, and enter a different dark dimension.
Did you ever traveled with a night train? What did you see and what did you think? What was your destination?
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