It was dense. Dark mist rested on our heads with a soft delicacy while we were invaded by the overwhelming silence.
Sitting there, unable to see beyond the cracking sound of rusted rails, my partner and I were waiting for the train that would take us to our final destination (or so I thought).
Between the silence and the cold night’s atmosphere, our only source of sanity was a silent, meaningful (or insignificant?) conversation that was sustained with the passing of a bottle of wine, an exchange of lived experiences that did not require words.
A silent, calm, immutable talk in which the narration was the passing of the bottle: the speaker passes the bottle, the receiver drinks from it, and the roles are then exchanged.
The subtlety of the discussion was born in the versatility of the argument, and how it went from speaker to receiver in a matter of seconds without testing or questioning the speaker’s position.
The conversation was humble (at times), expressive (sporadically), but these were adjectives without importance, as the true value of the exchange was present in the elegant understanding that we both had of the subject (drinking), and the persuasiveness that we both had in order to convince the other to drink from the bottle.
The discreet and elegant exchange was, however, interrupted by the already-mentioned train, whose sole purpose was to take us to our respective inns. The oppressive silence was violated and overwhelmed by the deafening sound of the rails, intensified by the train breaking into the station.
Suddenly, there it was, the train, present between the already dissipated fog, and posing above the corpse of the already dead silence.
I helped my companion, already touched by the wine, stand, and, subsequently, with our suitcases and wine in hand, we boarded.
The long absence of tangible words was then broken by him, in an attempt to start a
common, absurd, and empty dialogue:
–Did you like it? He asked me, referring to the little meeting that brought us together to that point in the night.
–It was good, I think, the wine within me exclaimed, making me engage in a conversation that now disgusted me.
–Good? It was excellent!
– Yes, but the food was mediocre, and I think something hurts, I said, with now-perceptible indifference.
–I suppose… my friend answered, finally killing that unpleasantly trivial conversation that he forced me to partake in.
For reasons that I do not understand, that damned individual (intoxicated by the wine, the night, and the mistaken idea of mutual friendship) spoke again:
–Are you sure it is the food that hurts?
– No matter the reason, just the fact that something hurts, I answered, to which he, striking with words as fast as the train, and backed by the sophistication of his suit, exclaimed, laughing:
–That’s the cause of your pain. Life is not that simple. You cannot disregard the causes behind the facts or you will never find an answer to what disturbs you.
– Do you think you are superior because you look at the causes? Tell me, are you happy? Did you kill your pain when you found the cause? Are you more than an amalgam of absurdities covered by a meaningless life?
– No, huh? I expected it, my arrogance exclaimed sharply, disturbed by words I never asked to hear.
-So, that is all you see, nonsense … was the subject’s response, followed by a sarcastic smile.
He knew … He knew of my discomfort… He knew that I took refuge in my arrogance for fear of tackling the roots of my problems. It was no longer a conversation, it was a game of chess, and the damned subject had me in check.
What did he want from me? Why did he seek my trust in exchanging wine, only to later force me into introspection?
My discomfort was evident, and my bubble of pessimism was altered. The train’s metallic screech and my damned companion ripped through my thoughts. These thoughts now sounded like incomprehensible cacophonies in my mind. They knew of my pain, and they enjoyed it. They mocked my misfortune.
… But, just before my anger and despair turned into unrest, I saw the bottle of wine in front of me… It was being offered to me by my rival, by the one who saw within the void of my arrogance. As the train lost speed and impact, I resorted to accepting the wine. I drank while the subject, preparing to leave the train, exclaimed:
-Don’t worry anymore, this is nonsense.
With the same ambiguity in his words, he gifted me a smile and left the train, leaving only the latter and the bottle of wine as accomplices of my uncertainty.
By Miguel Cano