The train was rocking to and fro as it danced to the clicketty clack clicketty clack music of metal wheels on metal rails.
I closed my eyes and somehow a tune came to my head. You know how sometimes, out of the blue, you remember a tune and it keeps playing on and on in your head all day? Well this happened to me. A piece of music came to mind. I think it was opera. I have never been a fan of opera really. I don't see the point of people singing instead of talking.
Imagine you're at the supermarket and you sing to the assistant, "How much is that doggy in the window?" You would not do that would you? Besides, they don't sell dogs in supermarkets, so why would you ask for it in song?
Anyway, this opera tune came to my head, and with eyes closed I moved a finger in the air as if holding a baton and conducting an opera. My index finger went up and down in the air in tune with the music's increasing crescendo in my head. (Have you noticed how I used the word "crescendo"? It makes people think I'm educated!)
So, as the music decelerated to a slow ending I opened my eyes satisfied with my talents as an opera conductor.
The man sitting opposite me on the train smiled too and said, "that was E lucevan le stelle from Tosca by Puccini!"
"What?" I said.
"The tune you were conducting with your finger. It's from Tosca by Puccini!" he said.
"Eh? I don't know ..." I hesitated.
"Yes ... I'm sure of it," he insisted, "It goes like this ..." and then, to my surprise, he started humming a tune which was exactly what I had been playing silently in my mind.
I was flabbergasted. All my flabber was truly gasted, I tell you. I was besides myself. I was sitting there and again sitting beside myself. Has it ever happened to you? A strange feeling I tell you.
"How did you know what tune I was playing in my head?" I asked.
"I followed your finger!" he said, "I could see your finger going higher, and then lower in the air. Then fast and slow. So I followed the tune you were playing in your head."
"Surely not?" I retorted incredibly and incredulously.
"It's true," he insisted, "and before that you were playing in your head Nessun Dorma from Turandot, also by Puccini. Am I right?"
"Yes ..." I hesitated again. How could this man read the music in my head by the movement of my finger in the air?
I had to prove him wrong. I just had to. So I challenged him.
I closed my eyes, folded my arms tight, and tried to clear my head of any thoughts whatsoever. No thoughts at all. Not always easy to do. But I can do it when I think about it.
"All right," I said, "what music was I playing then?"
"The Sound Of Silence" he smiled again.