To depart. Wait for next train.
Look around and pray.
Checking my old photos, I saw an almost forgotten one. A station that was giving me the most alarming experience in that trip.
Back in April 2017 I was in a solo travel for 20 days in EU region when the train from Lyon left me no choice but changing train in Bourg-en-Bresse. It was rainy and windy, almost 5pm local time, some passengers got off with me but all of them went out of the station (perhaps to go home) and only I stayed to wait for the next train at 7:15pm.
For almost 45 minutes and no one was coming. A group of young men entered the other side of the railway. They sounded chatting and giggling. I tried to avoid looking at them. It was my first time feeling insecure in the trip.
I continued reading my book (now pretending) as I felt so uneasy with the noise across the lines.
“Hi! Lady!” I looked around. No woman but me. Damn! They called me.
I didn’t say anything, my eyes looked back to my book.
“Hi! Hi!” Don’t say anything, Rike. Don’t look at them. My left hand slowly moved down to my Swiss knife in the inner pocket of the jacket.
Only prayer in heart and some strategies that were taught by my brothers on how to use the Swiss knife and simple kicks to defend myself from bad guys.
“Lady!” They shouted at me more loudly after some time.
“Lady!” The guys laughed out loud among their French words. I saw them waved their hands to me. They whistled at me. I wondered why no one was here but those guys. In my country there are always many people selling things around railway station. There are always tricycle riders moving around.
When those guys got even merrier and happier, I saw a shadow moved the tall doors behind the guys.
A tall black lady drew a trunk and went across line 1 to line 2 and to line 3 where I was almost ready to hurt any of the guys if they approached me.
The guys stopped their noise. The lady walked towards me.
I didn’t feel better. This lady could stop the guys’ laughters and whistles, she must have been able to do stronger thing than that including killing me— I had to be alert!
“Hi! Going to Geneva?” A soft voice greeted me.
“Hi! Ya! Are you?”
“Yes! The train will arrive soon.”
“No, it is just the schedule.”
We eventually were sitting in the same cart. She was working in the UN headquarters and traveled back from personal leave. She said I was lucky to take this train, not later one that might have made me encounter with more men in the station unluckily often drunk.
“No, you just need to choose the right timing.”
I almost forgot that I met this smart wise tough lady. Wherever you are, Madam, I wish you good luck! Thank you for saving me with your timeliness.