It is Monday and I am eating lunch at 10.15.
Traveling is one of those excuses in which I can justify to myself to eat at almost any time, if not all the time. When I am on the road I have no shame or apply any level of restriction in how and when I get to eat, highly unfortunate for my diet plan as I so often am on the move. Looking at travel pictures of trips that extend a few weeks there is always a leaning towards a heavier Maria on the say back than on the way there. I often motivate this with silliness like “I need a full stomach or I get motion sickness” which is perfectly true in most cases.
Traveling from Lund I have a few hours to spend at Copenhagen central station before the train that takes me back to German territory heads of. Exiting the train I am carrying a bit too much luggage to be entirely comfortable but I manage to get up the escalator without hitting anyone with my luggage-obese apparition. When up I am greeted by a disturbing scene. Possibly every junior high class in Denmark decided that this Monday is the Monday to travel on. Immediately I realize that my original plan of eating at McDonald’s is not going to happen… Not that I am unhappy about it, it was more of an unavoidable convenience in the first place. Regardless of my travel-food-obsession, my first mission was to hit the ladies.
The long line waiting in front of the restrooms is filled with young girls, but the line disappears quick enough and as I exit the toilet I am alone with women, not girls. Women that in front of the mirrors are grooming themselves. They brush their hair, apply mascara and a engage in a range of other processes that most often can exclusively be seen in the morning bathroom, and so rarely are shared with other people. The distant intimacy of the situation overpowers me as strangers are connected in a moment that often only close family and lovers get to share. Initially having had no intentions of applying any make-up or making any level of visual effort on a day of traveling, I feel that I want to join this female ceremony. In the spur of the moment I start digging around in my purse to find something that will include me in this unspoken ritual and become part of this group of women and the extended universal sisterhood.
After applying some mascara, facial lotion and braiding my hair I exit the bathroom not only feeling refreshed and slightly more attractive, I feel part of a secret society and carry an undefinable feeling of pride to be female.
Food-obsession making its reappearance I decide that it is time to eat something and I pass by McDonald’s again for another rejection. Settling instead for a wanna-be Thai place eating something they called Chicken Tikka Masala… The orange goo is not that bad, it just not very good either. Around my feet doves run around eating scraps from the floor – no one seems to care. Instead they, the food-obsessed ones like me, order semi-decent Asian food at this ungodly hour and the more socially adapt people are satisfied with a take-away coffee.
Sitting in Copenhagen waiting for my connecting train presses the undeniable truth that my time in Sweden is over for this time. The last weekend was spend in the best of company. After eating breakfast with mother, I spend the Sunday with friends from high school. Us four girls, so very different in almost every respect, yet that priceless relaxed environment of best friends soaked the day. We played games, ate good food and talked about kids (two of them are trying to get into the baby-factory business), work, love, life and travel. The Saturday I had spend watching the white fabric of a wedding dress and the dashing black of a groom, and the grey that emerges when the two dance Lindy Hop.
On my way out of the restaurant I decide that I need to conform a little to socially accepted behavior resulting in that I too buy a take-away coffee. Sipping my coffee contentedly I sit on my connecting train, squeezed in between too many people that apparently thought today was a golden opportunity to go to Germany. I thank God that it at least was not all the Danish junior high classes.