I was sitting in the departure room of the train station, waiting to watch the train leave. I was in the area for other reasons, but I like watching trains come and go. I give this trait to Kafka in my novel about him, and (without checking) no longer know if he really enjoyed this, or if I assumed. He did enjoy train travel.
All the passengers had already boarded and the train was destined to leave in five minutes. There were still train personnel in the station and I don't know if they have to wait for the last minute or not. These days we are supposed to be present at least a half hour for all forms of transit. I assume the same for the train.
A middle-aged man in a neat uniform was filling in forms behind the desk which tended to passengers with 'sleeper' accommodations. As I waited I heard his radio crackle with the words: "The train is yours." To this he replied: "The train is mine?" I assume the crackle I next heard was 'yes'.
The fellow filled in - or signed - or initialled - a couple of forms. He walked from around the desk and spoke to an employee. He then went through the open door to the platform and started to walk beside the train.
I wondered if he was going to go the whole length (at least a five minute walk) and enter at a forward car. He did. I don't know if he was checking each car or not (he did clang shut one door and platform). He was methodical in his stride. Three cars from the rear Dome car he lit up a cigarette. I assume he had his walk timed perfectly. And along the train he walked, smoke from his cigarette trailing behind him. The station clock indicated that, at this pace, he would be at the front of the train within a minute of departure. He became too distant to see clearly but, a minute before the train was to depart, he entered a car. Perhaps forty seconds later than the clock indicated it should, the train started to move.
And I thought, what a great feeling it must be. "The train is mine!"