Strangers on a Train

No, it’s not like that old movie back in the 50s. I simply want to talk about my train trip recently. When I first moved to Bandung 5 years ago, I often traveled by train from Jogja to Bandung, or vice versa. During my trip, I usually talked, at least try to talk, to my seat companion if I traveled by myself. But later, I just felt reluctant to start a conversation with my seat companion, who’s a stranger to me. Well, yesterday is an exception.

Like usual, I took Lodaya train from Jogja to Bandung at 9.30 pm. As I put my luggage on the compartment and sat, a girl tried to sit beside me. She was carrying a big case, and asked me to put hers at my side of the seat. Since the seat was a bit cramped, I offer to put it on the compartment above. As the train started to move, I took my cell and started browsing the news. At this point, I still felt reluctant to initiate a conversation.

Later, I felt bored reading the articles so I asked her a very usual and unimportant question, just as a sign of hospitality. I asked her if she was going to go to Bandung, and whether she lives there. She said yes. Then I asked again if she was having a trip to Jogja, since we both boarded the train from Tugu Station. She said no, and told me that she was studying at Jogja. Curious, I asked her where did she study. She answered that she has been studied at SMM (Sekolah Menengah Musik), which I obviously didn’t know. She told me that it’s a SMK (Sekolah Menengah Kejuruan) and it specialized on music. She went to Jogja because there is no SMM in Bandung, which impressed me that a girl at such a young age wandered to other city to chase her dream. Well, Jogja is known for it’s education, but music is a less popular study there. Starting to feel dumb, I stopped my question while I browsed on my cell trying to get information on SMM. Then it was her turn to asked me. She asked what I was going to do in Bandung and I told her that I studied at ITB and just finished my study.

I became more curious and then I asked her where did she live in Jogja. She told me that she lived in a boarding house near her school. As a fellow boarding house tenant, I asked her how much does it cost so I could compare it to Bandung’s. She told me that the one that she lived in now cost 450 thousands rupiahs per three months. She then told me that before that she lived in a house that cost 130 thousands rupiahs a month. From there she then started to tell me stories: why she moved from the first house, how she broke a lot of things starting from her room lamp, TV, cellphone, to her laptop. Suddenly we became like friends out of nowhere. She even held back her urge to order a dinner just to finish her story. I don’t know if she’s the loquacious type, but surely we talked like we knew each other.

After a long chat, more than an hour, she decided to buy a dinner. After that, we each took a rest until the train arrived at Bandung Station in the next morning. We went to the exit and went our separate ways after that. In the end, we never introduced ourselves, despite I know her name from listening to her stories.

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