Anne van Kesteren


Standing still. Trying not to move. Not to move the body while the train is marching forwards. Not getting thrown of your feet by the unpredictable pattern of the rhythm of the rails. Standing up straight, not holding onto anything, shifting weight between the feet, creating balance. A self-imposed challenge. Straightforward and simple. He thinks about it. Attempts to, anyway. The train, the tall buildings outside, the trees, the self-imposed challenge. Unsure what it is he then thinks about thinking about it. Wondering why. Perhaps it is because the mind is captured by the haste of transit. Perhaps because there is nothing much to think about. Heedless to his own thoughts. Thinking about it. Thinking about telling. Thinking about writing. Wondering how. He thought about over-thinking the matter. His thoughts imploded. Vanished. The train arrived.

Reflecting on it later he realized he had been doing these challenges most of his life. Little games to keep him busy. Lifting his feet when passing a street light. Endlessly. In the back of the car. Beating every indicated route time when hiking. Preferably by at least thirty percent. And by fifty percent on the way down. Running if deemed necessary. A sense of extreme freedom. Nothing quite comparable to jumping from rock to rock. Running and jumping while avoiding the people on the way. Focused to this singular task. Calculating where to place the feet. Calculating where other people will be within the next few seconds. How to avoid them. All the way down. Calculating. The beauty of the surroundings did not go unnoticed, but it was not the primary purpose. Never. Not what was driving him. Whether this is changing is unclear. Fast-paced hiking is still fun. As is enduring cold water. Sauna too. One cannot help but wondering whether all the internal competitiveness is doing any good. Yet it is the only thing he knows.