Lorelei shuffled her feet on the platform, waiting for the 15.40 train to Lucerne. The concrete was hot. Her feet were in Birkenstock sandals. The train was going to be late, according to the not-necessarily-reliable digital display flickering overhead further down the platform. She paced up and down, her brown shoulder bag thumping against her side.

In it she had the papers Joel had given her yesterday. She’d read them through once, but it was complicated, the situation. She planned to study them closely once she was on the train. It would be one and a half hours, the journey.

Lorelei sighed a little in the muggy air. The concrete platform radiated almost visible waves of heat. She walked to the far end, where there was a seat in the shade and sat down gingerly. The seat was grubby, and hard, but it was slightly cooler under the awning. Lorelei gazed out at the overgrown embankment on the other side of the tracks. Discarded food packets were caught in the weeds, and the brick wall at the base was thickly painted with graffiti. Like many railways cuttings, it was a desolate-looking place. Lorelei was alone with the weeds, the digital display, and her thoughts.

Time passed. She thought about what Joel had told her, his explanation. Much of it still seemed strange to her. She took the papers from her bag and leafed through them. One, headed “Entailment”, caught her eye. Had she read that before? She became engrossed as she read on, trying to understand the extent of the obligations she’d taken on. 

When she looked up, others were gathering on the platform. The digital display was announcing the imminent arrival of the 15.45 train to Basle. The 15.40 to Lucerne had left, and was disappearing down the desolate cutting.


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