‘The Adventure of a Traveler’ by Italo Calvino, trans. William Weaver

Federico, who lives in the north of Italy, makes occasional long-distance train journeys to visit his lover Cinzia, who lives in Rome. He travels by night as it’s cheaper, and he is almost always guaranteed an entire compartment to himself. Each time, he undresses carefully and allows himself the pleasure of the enclosed space and precisely-allotted timespan to anticipate his arrival in Rome.  But this night, his solitude is interrupted.

First published in English in Difficult Loves, 1983