Thursday 13 December 2018

Half past midnight. Paris. I was in the metro, headphones on, iPod playing Philip Glass and reading a book. I stood up to get off the train and put the book in my bag. I noticed a grey-haired, bearded middle-aged man with a dark blue woolen hat on, drinking a can of beer. As the doors were about to open I felt someone tap lightly on my coat. It was the man. He was pointing up at my bag, his dark eyes twinkling . "Do you like it?". As he saw my confused expression, he added "The book!". I was reading Virginie Despentes' Vernon Subutex

"Yes, I do like it! Very much!", I replied. 

The man smiled. "First or second?". A young girl was watching our exchange with a puzzled look. 

"I'm reading the first tome" I said. "It's great", the man continued. He seemed so pleased and smiled broadly. The door signal was ringing. It was time to get off. I looked back one more time and made a thumb up sign to him. 

It wasn't the first time I had this kind of connection, this sense of kinship with other readers on the train. It was heartwarming.

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