Modena to Bologna, 24th April 2011
There’s a man with his family sitting ahead of me. They look Chinese. The man sits watching while his wife and child sleep. He leans forward in his chair, poised and alert, as if expecting the enemy to appear at any minute. He could be from a Kurosawa film. His face is fixed by a look of resignation. Whenever he looks at his wife and child, it’s almost as if it’s for the last time.
He seems always to be looking into the distance; not at the horizon, but behind, to a time many years ago, a time before he was even born. There is a longing in his face; a face as expressionless as if it was cut from paper. Only occasionally does it crease, the expression leaving a mark like a fold in his skin. His wife laughs and kisses her child over and over – a small boy with a round face who watches the world pass by the window. What will he remember of his mother and father in the years ahead? What will he recall of this moment? Something? Nothing? Will it leave a mark somewhere in his memory – a fold like the half-smile on his father’s face?