Short Story Sunday: Jacob.

True event in the form of a short story. Mind the expressive language.

„Shit! Shit! Shit!“ she whispered under her pounding breath while dragging her estimated 500kg luggage along the platform. On the wrong side of the door she shot a pleading look up to the controller, the woman looked back down with shrugged shoulders and an apologetic expression when the train made a noise and started rolling. „Argh! Fuck!“ she swore out loud before taking out her phone. Anger, disappointment and a hint of embarrassment shot tears into her eyes and stung the back of her throat! „You will NOT cry now!“ she told herself while pretending to send a quick text when she heard a „Crap!“ next to her. Meanwhile sitting on her luggage, she just gave a sideways glance to the voice and saw the train almost disappearing out of sight. About 10 steps away from her stood a tall, slender guy with a blond curly head who turned his back to her. He too had a luggage but a substantially smaller and lighter looking one than her own and a backpack strapped to his back. She focused on her phone again and continued angry typing a text she would never send.

“Did you miss it too?” She didn’t know if it was really meant for her, so she sneakingly dared a glance to her right to make sure there was nobody else before facing the guy on her left. He shot her a shy smile and seemed to wait for an answer. “Yes, unfortunately…” she gave in and sent a smirk his way. “Yeah me too! Did you want to go to Luik too?” He approached her but leaving a distance between them. “He’s cute” she thought to herself “maybe my age or younger, not older though.” “Yes, the plan was to go home because of the Christmas holidays. But this was my last train, since there won’t be another one in Liège for tonight.” She shrugged and tried to make it look like it was nothing while forcing down the grudge she held against herself. He smiled and said “I see… Would you excuse me for a minute, I just need to quickly make a call?” and turned around, phone on his ear. She didn’t know what held her there exactly. The fact that she was quite exhausted from dragging the luggage all the way in vain or rather that she wanted to see if this smiling blond guy would actually come back and talk a little more. She slumped back onto her luggage, took her phone out again and checked her balance; of course nothing had changed in the last 5 minutes and she still wasn’t able to text her Mum to tell her that she gave birth to a potential failure of a daughter that did not even manage to catch her last train home for today in time. She looked up and realized that there was nobody else on the platform except of the guy and herself. Opposite of the train racks was a teenage boy with spikey hair in a black leather jacket slouching on a bench and listened to some Dutch rap on speaker, while through the station entrance an elderly woman in a long brown coat and a colourful Hijab pulled a trolley behind her.

“Sorry, but I had to make sure that I would actually get home today. So, where are you from?” He did come back.

“Ah ok, so at least one of us will make it home. I’m from Luxembourg, but I currently live here in Maastricht. What about you?”

“Luxembourg? Nice little country. I’m from Leuven in Belgium, but I just came from Nijmegen by train and it was late, that’s why I didn’t get the one to Luik.” His phone flared up and he made an apologetic hand sign while turning away. “He seems really nice and thank you that his train was late!” She smiled inside her while fixing her hair.

“I just got the confirmation that someone will pick me up in Luik. But now I have to wait here for an entire hour first…” He faced her for a brief second before looking into the distance. “Ok, now or never!” She concluded with herself and said out loud “You know, if you want, I could stay with you until your next train. I have nothing else to do now anyways and I need to wait for a bus to get home too. We could go for a drink or a coffee?” She added a sweet smile just for the purpose. His head snapped back to face her and a smile widened on his face. “Really? You would do that? Wow, that would be really nice of you! Do you know where we could go?” “Wait a second, did he just agree to my proposition? Score!” she realized and tried to hide a smile. His, on the other hand, was bright and he seemed genuinely happy to not have to spend the hour wait on his own. “Yes, there are some cafés and pubs right outside in front of the station, I’m sure at least one of them is still open…” “Cool, that sounds nice and warm! Let’s go then!” They both smiled again and grabbed their luggage. “What’s your name, by the way?” she asked while trying to hide the effort of having to pull the blasted suitcase again. “Oh, you’re right, we didn’t introduce ourselves, sorry. My name’s Jacob.” He grinned and stretched out his hand for her to shake it “Nice to meet you Jacob, I’m Rebecca.” And she shook it. “Jacob, do you have any idea about the Bible?” “Ehm, I think yes…” “Ok, so I think this is funny but I don’t know how you’ll see it, but in the Bible Jacob is the son of Rebecca. So, technically, I’m your mother.” She tried a smile in his direction and instantly felt silly. “Oh really, I didn’t remember that, but it is funny and a nice coincidence.” He smiled and then made a face as if he was thinking about it. A split second later he faced her, had a grin on his face and recited “Oh Mother, where have you been all this time? Why did you leave me alone and waiting?” “Oh my gosh, this random guy perfectly understands my sense of humour!” She celebrated inside while reciting on her own “My dearest Son, I promise you it was never my intention to abandon you!” and they both started laughing until they reached the elevator. “You know what is funny though” he observed, “we both missed the same train!” and he shook his head while his laughter was dying down. “Well, what can I say? Like mother, like son!” she joked and they started laughing again until they got out of the elevator and were at the top of the large staircase that was typical for Maastricht’s train station. “Here, let me take this!” he offered and grabbed her suitcase. She tried to… well, not stop him, but rather warn him that the luggage was really heavy and that she didn’t just say that but that it was actually the case. But he wouldn’t be mislead and carried hers as well as his own suitcase down the flight of stairs. “My Hero! That beast of a suitcase was the death of me!” she thought and hoped that he wouldn’t trip or hurt himself due to her luggage.

When they crossed the street, the second café was still serving and they entered. She spied a table in the corner and immediately headed for it. Turning around to check if he was following, a man in his end 40s was talking to Jacob but looking and pointing at her. She sat down and pretended that this didn’t concern her while checking for an available Wifi connection. Rebecca was in the middle of a message to her sister when Jacob came and sat down opposite of her. A woman in her 50s, trying to pass as end 20s early 30s, approached them and said something in Dutch that Rebecca didn’t understand. “What would you like to drink?” Jacob asked in his open, smiling way. “Oh, a Sprite please” and he added something in Dutch and the woman left their table. As soon as she was gone, the man who talked to Jacob before passed them and grinned at Rebecca while mumbling in Dutch and hitting him on the back. “Never mind him!” Jacob explained, “we sat together in the train before from Nijmegen to here and somehow he thinks we are friends now. He also thinks that you are my girlfriend…” He smiled and took out his phone to place it on the table. “Oh ok…weird…” was all that she could say. “I wouldn’t mind though…” was what her mind was adding silently. The wannabe-youngster-waitress came back with a tray and their drinks, a Sprite and a Beer, after a cheers and a gulp, Rebecca remembered the message to her sister that she hadn’t send yet. “You mind if I just quickly finish texting my sister so that my Mum knows that I won’t come home tonight?” “No, please, go ahead” he said with an inclination of his head and he attended to his beer.

After the message was sent, they started a conversation. Jacob was a Linguistic student who did an exchange year at the University of Nijmegen, while Rebecca was on her Erasmus semester in Maastricht as a Law student. They talked about how they ended up at this improvised Christmas party in the café that was probably meant for men that either had no women in their lives or wanted to escape the ones that they had. They raved over how they both love the Netherlands and the extraordinary friendliness and openness of the Dutch folk. They told each other small anecdotes of what they experienced at their respective Universities in the Netherlands and exchanged stories on their friends. It turned out that Jacob had a girlfriend and Rebecca an aching heart. During a moment of silence after an interesting monologue of Jacob on his plans for his future, they checked the time, which had been flying and it was time to leave. Jacob insisted on paying her drink and she gave in pretty fast. While both were getting dressed and made it to the door, the man reappeared and hit them both on their back while yelling “GEFELICITEERD!” (Congratulations!) They both laughed and made their way out and to the crossroad.

And so it was time to say goodbye. A hand shake, some thank you-s, a quick wave and their ways separated to each their own destination, knowing that they most likely will not meet again, but that it was nice to still being able to meet friendly and good hearted people out there and have an interesting conversation for an hour.

Picture Credit (Portrayed: Evan Peters)


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