Saturday, June 7, 2008

Anna Paulowna

It's going to be our first date. Just me and her.
We decided to meet in a small train station between Alkmaar and Den Helder. Although we are not supposed to know so much about each other, I’ve heard many things about her.
Anna Paulowna. The famous Anna Paulowna. My Anna Paulowna, I hope.

I think about her constantly.
I wonder what took her to this remote corner of the Netherlands.
Rural Noord Holland does not look like a worldly place.
Yet she moved here a long time ago.

From my window I can see a milky veil of fog covering a flat, dull countryside. Former wet land. Black spotted Frisian cows stand peacefully along the railway line, flapping their ears and their tails as waving the passing train.

I left Alkmaar a half an hour ago. If I am not wrong just a few minutes separate me from Anna Paulowna. She should be near. She might be near. She must be near. I have to be patient.

According to geography, we are getting closer to the sea. Yet, the landscape does not have anything to do with a marine one. Where are the seagulls? Where are the wrecked boats? Where are the fishermen? Just green fields for miles. And a blanket of haze.
Apparently there used to be tulips here. But now their colours are gone. And all that remains are a few purple and yellow spots of sick-looking irises.

Anna Paulowna! Why did not I meet you in Saint Petersburg, Jalta or even in Roulettenburg when I know you were flirting with that gambler named Fyodor?
Well, it doesn't matter.

I remember having a similar date with Maria Ellend, a petite Austrian I met between Vienna and Bratislava. We attended to a party hosted by local firemen in the courtyard of a picturesque inn. There were liters of radler beer, spicy sausages and a band was playing while we were sitting under the grapevine. Needless to say that I fell in love with Maria Ellend.

That story is over.

Now my feelings are all for Anna Paulowna, the one I am going to meet.
Here we are. The train is reaching the tiny station. Just a few meters between us...
Finally I can see her waiting for me.
She is standing on the platform wearing an amazing blue dress.


The station placard cries.
Once. Twice.
Once. Twice.

But the train does not stop.
And she fades away.

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