My anxiety increases as the train draws closer to the border. Our compartment is nearly empty. Just two of us now.
The woman in the seat facing me asks in heavy-accented English if I’m crossing on the train. I butcher the pronunciation of the final destination and apologize for ignorance of her language. My voice betrays my fear of debarking in a strange city at night.
Her name is Alena. Sensing my uneasiness, she offers to steer me through the arrival procedures. With the stress of aloneness relieved, I soon doze.
When I awake, both Alena and my passport are gone.