I stare out the train window. I’m feeling a bit smug sitting on the Eurostar with a white fedora and copy of “The International Herald Tribune” on the table before me. Next to this is my copy of “The Portable Beat Reader.” I’m trying to remember as much as I can, I don’t normally feel this refined. Besides, when will I again be traveling from Rome to Urbino by rail? When will I be going from imperial splendor to Renaissance refinement in this way again?
I look across the isle at my traveling companions. Erin, Alyson, and Anthony have all fallen asleep. I unfold my paper again and feel smart (something a little rare for me, especially working with all the people I have been on this project).
I rustle the paper, but can’t really focus on the words. I look back at my three peers. I’m thinking of this whole trip. Anthony said the other day that I’m like an old man in a young body. I took it as a compliment. Talking with him and many others, though, has taught me that I’m not as mature as I’d like to imagine.
Most of my colleagues here are one or two years younger; some more. These folks, though, might as well be decades older than me. I’ve put on a hyper and confident front often, but I’m actually timid. I’m nervous about traveling. I don’t handle being away from my family for long times yet, and most of the other kids here (because I am still a kid) see their kin only a handful of times a year. I have little confidence in myself dealing with others, constantly thinking I’ve annoyed or insulted them, but my fellows here meet new people with confidence. I’ve learned a lot from them all this past month, and I’ve learned a lot about myself.
This runs through my head in moments as we pull into the next station. My three friends seem to wake as one. As we set off again a few minutes later, we’re all three chatting away about anything and everything. I look out again at one of some many beautiful towers atop another hill over verdant fields. We’re already talking over some sort of reunion and I’m thinking how truly lucky I am to have met all these people and I’m hoping to see them again soon.