a forestbather in ukraine
3 min readDec 11, 2017

I did not see her get on the train, nor see her sit behind me, and could therefore take no blame for how the train ride unfolded. And after all, I’d just flown in from Iceland, with a long train journey ahead.

If I remember rightly, it was her who spoke to me first. However, I was a touch economical with the truth in my opening statement, for in fact I had initially noticed her walking by the train, of course, because trains and women go beautifully together, and she walked the platform like she was on a catwalk.

A breeze from the departing train on the tracks opposite mine had then somewhat confused me, a breeze that had caused her to quickly grasp her white hat with thick dark blue band, as her skirt flared.

Therefore I was confused, by such unexpected and exotic sensuality, and when she asked me if she was on the right train, I told her that it was impossible she had stepped onto the wrong one.

She giggled. It is difficult to surmise the feeling one gets when making an attractive woman just met on a train giggle: that feeling of being secure in the knowledge that this conversation was going to go well, that cards were starting to stack nice and neatly in my favour, even if cards can fall quick.

'You have nice boots,' I said.

She blushed. 'Thank you,' she said, and I asked her where she was from. 'Riga, Latvia,' she said. I knew her city as one with cobblestone old town and tall church steeples, and a market hall where one could drink superb local brews, under a large wooden pagan symbol of a local goddess, and the market hall an impressive set of buildings that used to be zeppelin hangars.

I do not remember if she was impressed with my knowledge of her city of not. I had pulled a bottle of wine from my bag as I talked, and opened it before flinging the cork out of an open top window.

'No turning back now,' I said, pouring her a cup in one of my two tin mugs attached to my rucksack.

Her cheeks were rosy, and her lips very kissable as she leant forward, cup in hand, in the seat opposite.

'Put your legs up,' I said, patting the seat next to me; 'you'll be more comfortable.'

Oh she knew. She knew and was entertained by my thoughts, and as the bottle emptied, we shared travel stories then some food, and the train clicked through the night, heading southwards.

She unzipped her boots, her skirt riding up her thighs, and stretched her legs across the seats.

In the tender night as the train rocked comfortably on the tracks, she rested her head against the side of the seat, her eyes closing. But when we entered a small tunnel and the noise of the train suddenly intensified, she crossed over to my seat and lay against me, her head on my shoulder, and her arm wrapped around mine.

'I won’t let this moment end,' I whispered, and kissed her forehead softly. And later, as dawn rose in the patient sky, she awoke in my lap, and laughed in shyness and surprise, and I kissed her a second time, her neck inviting, and her legs parted.

She shivered slightly to my touch, grasping my arm with hers, eyes closed and mouth open, and she felt warm, and of velvet, and when I slid back to taste her, it was as if I could taste all that was best in the mountains and valleys and meadows we passed, in this glorious of mornings.

She shuddered, and sighed, and moaned, like in a beautiful dream, and then I lifted her shirt and kissed her bellybutton, and she smiled, but quickly tears found their way to her eyes.

'Beauty can be so sad,' she said quietly, and held me tightly, curled up next to me, her boots unzipped and empty on the compartment floor.

in-between the cuckoo’s calls — 
a lone flower