Closely Watched Trains

A Story

by Bohumil Hrabal

I thought of Masha, and of how we met for the first time, when I was still with the track superintendent. He gave us two buckets of red paint and told us to paint the fence round the entire state workshops. Masha began by the railway track, just as I did. We stood facing each other with the tall wire fence between us, at our feet we each had a bucket of cinnabar paint, we each had a brush, and we stippled away with our brushes opposite each other and painted that fence, she from her side and I from mine.

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