the incongruous smell struck him as soon as he stepped off the train. that smell shouldn't have been there, not in that place, not then. it was the smell of coal being burned in stoves and it took his mind back to long train rides on cold winter nights, inching across the frozen ukrainian landscape. but this was germany, and it was now the middle of summer... looking across the tracks he saw the source of the smell - it was indeed a ukrainian train, the carriages were being heated up for the nocturnal journey to kyiv. the name of the city and the smell of the coal also brought back memories of the girl he had chosen to leave a year ago. he had wanted to let her go, to not waste her time, to not drag her down.
when they had parted at kyiv airport a year ago, a bob dylan song had been playing in his head. as if in a cheesy movie, a busker was now playing exactly the same song now as he stepped on to the metro, leaving the smell of the past behind him.