Soon after Easter, my Spanish friends had to go home, but I caught the night train to visit another friend in France. I was the only woman in my carriage. The men tried to talk to me, they laughed and coaxed me and offered me liquor to drink. I couldn't understand them. They had gruff voices and different accents to my familiar friends. I pretended to fall asleep so that they wouldn't bother me. I didn't dare move. I didn't dare go to the bathroom.

As the train traveled in darkness, making many mysterious stops, I drifted in and out of sleep, becoming convinced that the men in my carriage were plotting to rape and kill me. I tried to figure out what they were whispering about. I was sure that I would only survive if I remained utterly motionless, seemingly oblivious to their plans. Only absolute denial was keeping me safe.

In the morning they were all pretending to look innocent and disinterested. I was aching and rigid with the fear of their company. We came to the border. I escaped them by changing onto the modern, fast, French train. They sank back into Spain. I fell fast asleep as we sped towards Paris, and arrived at about 9:00 that evening at the Gare duSud.

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