I heard the American student on the way here. Three rows back on the train. I know a lot about him now. I know his anxieties about graduate school. I heard the story told by the girl next to him about being hit by a car. Wasting time telling stories from Brussels to Frankfurt.
I don’t think they were loud, but I think I only heard English. I also hear Spanish sometimes. And Swedish, too. But Flemish, French, German do not catch my ear. Every other train conversation was a background, a ramble of consonants and syllables seeking meaning. The announcements came in the same secret code, leaving these two as my only connections to words I understand.