SLOW TRAIN FROM GARMISCH

Harper's Bazaar (UK) - - Women - BY MARTHA GELL­HORN

A long car, grey with dust, raced down the main street of Garmisch. Peo­ple on bi­cy­cles rode into the kerb and pedes­tri­ans jumped back against the house-fronts for safety; and ev­ery­one stared with anger.

The girl in the car sat slumped down on the seat; the pedes­tri­ans and bi­cy­clists could only see her hair blow­ing back like a ragged yel­low flag.

The boy, driv­ing, wore dark glasses, a sun­burn, a polo shirt and a set ex­pres­sion about the mouth. They passed the painted houses and the gen­uine Bavar­ian knick-knack shops, and the car swerved to the right at the end of the town, with a col­umn of dust ris­ing straight be­hind it. At the sta­tion, the boy pulled his brakes and the car stopped, skid­ding a lit­tle, with a sharp, scream­ing noise. He was out first, run­ning be­fore her to where the slow train for Mu­nich waited. He swung her suit-case to a rack in the third-class car­riage, and turned to her. ‘Good-bye,’ he said.

She looked at him and tried to say some­thing. No one in the train spoke. Sun glared on the clean yel­low wood benches. ‘Good-bye,’ he said, again.

She closed her eyes so quickly that he won­dered later whether she had re­ally done that. He held her arms gen­tly and kissed her on both cheeks. For a mo­ment she leaned against him, and then she stood back as if she had re­mem­bered some­thing, and watched him. Some­thing might still hap­pen, some­thing she was wait­ing for.

The con­duc­tor came to close the doors, and the boy jumped from the train and stood on the quai. He waved to her. The train was moving and she ran to a win­dow to see if – though there was no time, now – he would make some sign, what­ever sign she needed or wanted. He waved again. She smiled at him, as a child would which has hurt it­self, and for one dazed mo­ment is try­ing to be brave. She turned from the win­dow and crossed the aisle to her own seat, put her hand over her eyes, leaned her head against the win­dow-pane, and wept.

From the ar­chives: Louis Vuit­ton illustration, 1927

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