Sunday, 12 May 2013

The Train to Somewhere

Standing on the deserted platform of the train station, she pulls her tattered and torn coat closer around herself as the cold November wind suddenly becomes more intense. It takes her breath. She can feel it right to her bones. She is never warm though, even in the summer heat of August. Her body feels dead, much like her soul. She looks over her shoulder  at the clock on the  station wall. Her train is late, but it always is. When you’re going no where, time is in no rush to get there. As the sun sets, the lamp posts around the station come on, but they give no comfort. It’s just another automatic thing happening in her very predictable life. She hears the train approaching. As it pulls up slowly to the station, it gives off one sad sounding warning. The train is old and worn out. Like her, it is tired, tired of just existing with no purpose, but to just move ahead.  When it comes to a stop, she looks into the cars of the train, looks at the blank faces of the people on board. They don’t take any notice of her, just staring ahead with no emotion. They are all heading down the same sad and endless track.  The train attendant steps off the train. He has taken her ticket many times before, but there is smile for a greeting, no warm hello. He just looks at her and says “Boarding now for the train to nowhere.”
    As she picks up her worn out suitcase, the lights along the track flicker a couple of times then go out. She hears a train approaching from the other side of the platform going in the opposite direction. As it pulls up to the platform, it shines so bright, that she needs to cover her eyes for a moment. She has never seen this train before, but it gives her a feeling of warmth and peace. She doesn’t know why, she is just drawn to it. So she picks up her suitcase, and heads towards the other platform. The train attendant says. “I can’t wait for you. We have to go on.” But she doesn’t answer him, just keeps walking, never looking back. As she gets closer to the train, she walks a bit faster, almost running. She has a feeling of exaltation, a feeling of hope.
     Inside the cars of the train is lit up like the fourth of July, the Christmases of her youth. When she still saw the world as new and wonderful, and before she lost faith, faith in the people in it, faith in herself. The people on the train conversations are animated. They are laughing, they seem happy, they seem alive. Then suddenly they all look at her and smile.  The doors open and the train attendant steps out. He too is smiling at her. He says “Boarding train to somewhere Miss.” He steps aside so she can climb up the steps. She starts up them, but suddenly, she feels hesitant, scared even. She doesn’t know where this journey will take her, maybe the people on board means her harm. Maybe she will get lost along the way. Maybe she will end up alone in a place she doesn’t know.  She has never taken a ride into the unknown.
    “Don’t be afraid dear” the attendant says to her, taking her hand and leading her up the steps. His hand is firm but not tight. It is warm and comforting. Just as her Father’s hand used to be when she was a little girl. “Your journey is unknown but your destination is not. Your train to a better future starts right   now, and you will find strength and confidence along the way. Just take the first step.”
    She looks into his eyes, and sees her reflection in them, and she is smiling. She steps aboard and the door closes. As the train pulls away, she looks out at the dark and deserted train station for the last time, and then she turns towards the welcoming light of the train and a sense of purpose for the first time.

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