English, Prose, RMW Festival 2013

Proza: Country Train

Onderstaande tekst is een fragment van een vertaling van Country Train van Yasser Abdel Latif. Voor het volledige verhaal zie deze link.

Prose: Country Train

The following is a fragment of ‘Country Train’ by Yasser Abdel Latif. For the complete story, click here.

I found myself standing in the heart of darkness on a train platform under the open sky.

I’d been at the wake of a work colleague’s father in a village in Baheira province, some three hundred kilometres from Cairo and had been too late to catch the minibus in which I’d arrived in the company of the rest of the co-workers, who had come from the capital to pay their condolences. Unable to make the return journey with them I was forced to return alone on the country train.

There is a rail network that connects the villages of the Delta to junctions in the towns and capital cities of its provinces. I had no idea where in the network this station lay but I knew that I was in the far northwest, on the border between cultivated land and the desert.
It was about nine in the evening yet in the countryside it seemed like the depths of night. The station was a single uncovered platform with a single strip of track before it, which meant the train travelled along it in both directions. I was standing alone at the station and all about me the corn stretched out over vast distances. Though it was summer, a thick layer of fog rested over the fields, which emitted the electric whine of hovering insects.

There was a solitary, feebly shining lamppost on the platform, a sphere of mosquitoes surrounding its halo of light. The lamp would fade out for minutes at a time and the mosquitoes would fly off, to return as the light bloomed anew after taking its break. In the sky was a crescent moon that far from dispelling the air of desolation only deepened it. Mobile phones still lay in the future. (…)