Making train friends.
Looking back it’s hard to say how exactly both my energy and I fit on to the train carriage. I boarded my train bound for Sondrio, a journey of about 2 hours in which I was looking forward to looking out of the window and playing with my broken camera lens in case two solid hours of fiddling could fix it.
I entered the first carriage of the regional train and saw a man looking at me. I ignored him and went to find the conductor. After walking several carriages down to no avail, I figured I would park myself back in the first carriage to help my case when I get in trouble for fare evading.
I sat down and started looking out the window. A few minutes later the man comes over and starts speaking to me in Italian. ‘You speak Italian?” he asks. I say, “no” in which he replies that I can, he “believes in me, he believes I can”.
“Righto”, I think, I zip up my bag and sit up straight ready to see how this is going to pan out.
He sits next to me but motions that he is not going to touch me or bother me.
He asks me to repeat a bunch of Italian. Thanks to several months of using an Italian app, I can parle a little Italiano so I was repeating after him something along the lines of “Io sono fotografo" (I am a photographer) as I had my camera. He started showing me some pictures on his phone, he explained that he is a poet and showed me some of his drawings and verses. He shared a few of his best lines, something about how “a woman is stopped inside her bag”. He asked me if I understood and judging from my blank expression, said it three more times pointing to my bag each time. Thankfully his phone soon went flat.
He then parked opposite me and continued to talk to me in a mixture of Italian and English. He was picking up on my vibes and it was blowing his mind. He went to leave but then came back and started singing to me, “blue eyes, blue e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-yyyyyyes,” he sang but he would pronounce the e-e-e-e-e-e like he was letting off a round of bullets. “Blue e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eyes” He was singing right in my face. He wanted me to pay attention to his vibrato. He did it again and pointed it out, “blue e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eyes”. He seemed to think he was nailing it.
“Blue e-e-e-e-e-e-e-e-eyes,” he continued to sing, staring into my eyes and getting close to my face.
I wondered if there was another verse?
I have one of those faces, and evidently one of those energies that attracts odd people. There is something about my aura and something about my face that really puts crazy people at ease. It usually makes for an interesting tale.
He assured me again he won’t touch me and he won’t bother me but he was hanging around and wanted to say something it seems. So he sat back down and told me in a mixture of English and Italian about how big my energy and soul is. He was overcome with it. He could feel it soon as I got on the train. He talked at me at length about my soul. How he was attracted to it, not like a man and woman. He was “49. Old” he would say but regardless my soul was throwing out all sorts of vibes and this guy was tripping on it. He didn’t know what to do. He couldn’t leave. He just kept saying something about my soul and talking in Italian. He was flipping his lid and the song really wasn’t getting across everything he wanted to tell me.
There was nothing else to do at this point. My energy was evidently getting bigger and bigger and drowning this poor fellow, as I sat stiller and stiller on a rattling old, graffitied train carriage. Tired, quiet and now somewhat amused. He couldn't take it any longer, he clasped my hand in his and closed his eyes. I was looking on with a smile but also wishing I had a camera. He stayed there like that for some time. His eyes were shut tight and his lips were quivering like he was draining all my energy with a spell. Think the curse Severus Snape is doing when Harry falls off his broom during his first quidditch match. He was holding my hand like the way an old lady would pray to a statue. They pray so emotionally and passionately their lips quiver. They care so much. It was like that, but instead of the Madonna and some candles, it was an overweight, sweaty Australian girl standing there like a lump while someone mumbled verses at her feet.
So if you can picture the scene, i’m sitting on a train, my backpack on my lap with a man crouched beside me holding my hand with both of his, mumbling in italian, his lips quivering and his eyes shut tight. I am looking all around the train carriage trying not to laugh. Or to catch someones eye and be like “shhesh, this guy ey”. His mumbling started to turn English intermittently “you beautiful women”, he would say. Staring at my face. “No, you are. You beautiful women”. If he said it three times he said it 300 hundred. Again, he is holding my hand, I am looking at the ceiling awkwardly.
“You beautiful women, You beautiful women. You beautiful women," he would repeat.
I’m not sure he has blinked in 20 minutes.
“…ah thanks," I say.
“nooo, no you. are. beautiful women”.
He kept reminding me he wasn’t talking about sex, though he is a man, he is a poet and love is not for this world. I am a beautiful women and my soul is blowing the roof off this carriage.
He tries again to explain it all. I am like the big woman, (rude, not that way) which I think i’ve heard the translation before, being like the Madonna. Big, as in almighty. He means spiritually I am very big. He then goes back to old faithful, “You beautiful women” he says again, insisting I repeat it back to him.
“You are beautiful women”.
If I didn’t repeat his mantra he stared even deeper into my eyes. So trying not to laugh I followed his mantra “I am a beautiful woman” I say, correcting his plurals. We would chant it together a few times then I threw a “io sono bella donna” in there - that one nearly blew his head off.
So there I am, barrelling down the railway into the region of my ancestors. Sitting in a carriage chanting “I am a beautiful woman” with a poet come cyclist who is holding my hand and staring at my face. Keep in mind I am wearing hiking shoes, 3/4 pants and a T-shirt. My hair is large and curly and I quite frankly look like a 60 year old cat lady on a day hike. I am not a beautiful women by any definition.
When he finally calmed down and stopped feeding on my energy, he also told me that I am an archangel. To which I said, “thanks”. He asked if I knew what it was to which he explained that me and my soul, we are not your run of the mill angel, or “white lady” as he called me first, I am an archangel, the powerful angels that make the other angels strong. They run shit in heaven is my guess. He scribbled the name Ulcia on some paper after repeating it several times. I’m not sure whether I am Ulcia or I need to look to Ulcia for guidance when I am unsure about my life choices. Ulcia is the archangel Uriel who according to Wikipedia has a flame in her(?) hand, is the angel of Sundays, poetry and the patron of the arts. Story checks out.
Eventually he gave me my hand back and with a few hundred more “you beautiful women” he caressed my cheek and then paid for my train ticket. He also wrote my mantra down on my notepad which I had taken out for some quick note taking when he went to chase the train conductor to buy my ticket. He soon returned with my ticket and another note scribbled in Italian on the back of a business card.
“io space il mondo sono bella come il mondo che e rotondo”
I plan the world is as beautiful as the world is round”
He kissed me on the cheek, and he got off with his bicycle and set off to cycle in the alps. Mountain cycling: A sure sign of being mentally unstable.
I guess I made his day. My soul and I went back to looking out the window.
Just saved myself €4,20 - cheers Ulcia.