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The Train Ride Going Nowhere

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It was a light, October morning where the leaves, wearing tints of orange and brown, still fell from oak-bordered trees, layering upon white, tip-frosted strands of grass. Cold wind whisped, bending the trees, and shaking them down to wear they bore nothing but their naked branches, ruffling against each other. The sky was filled with streak-scattered, silvery-white clouds, hiding lilac covered light that started to change to a periwinkle, cerulean tone. Grey stones perched against each other, side by side, standing just ten feet above the ground, on top of a red-bricked wall. Gray tracks strayed perpendicular from the brick landing, over a gravel surface, receding toward where the sun was rising and proceeding to where the sky never seemed to end. The air breathed a cold sensation, halting people atop the platform in their place, trying to grab the clothing that they could extend and stretch over their skin that remained naked, uncovered.

Sparks started to fly around the area, lighting up the ground that filled with charcoal smoke, with a piercing shriek hurdling away from the tracks, toward the air above it. People stood atop the platform; Their ears overwhelmed, by the sound and the cold air, that they pressed against their naked skin again, trying to retain warmth and keep out sound. Finally, the painful sound dismissed itself from the presence of all who stood around, waiting for it to be gone, and there was a ten-cart train that mounted on the tracks. Sparks bestowed the air, fading before meeting from their crimson skin, falling into the gravel below, and losing their light. The train came to a stop, fully, docking into the station. People released their grasp upon themselves, where there was no sound, from the friction of the train’s wheels and the tracks, to harm their ears, but still having the brisk air to tense them up again.

Men went to grab their brown, tan, and black leather briefcases, lifting them up into the air. The trailer doors of the train sped to either side, opening up for passengers to cross over the medium. Feet shuffled, marking up the ground and stepping over the empty pit between the platform and the train. The platform suddenly became empty, while the train filled up, except for one man who was hunched over on a bench, alone, with an empty book in his hand. He slapped the book closed, snapping his fingers over his palm, putting his arm to his side. Ee arose from the bench, layered in a green shirt that was under a white sweater under a gray peacoat, with blue jeans that straightened up. With only a book in his hand and an eagerness to jump aboard for a journey all his own, by himself, he prepared himself. He got up from the tanish, undried bench, and steadied toward the train, while everyone else had already found their seat and took it. The man got on to the train at the last possible second. The doors alarming their ordinance to shut, close.

He stood in the entry way, with aisles on either side to him. The walls were brimmed with mis-colored posters, parallel with each other, of advertisements that seemed well passed their longevity. Windows balanced the walls, being placed between posters, so the natural scenery wasn’t taken over by daunting images that passengers made effort to ignore. The cart was split into two sides, having sets stacked across the whole of the cart, only one walk way meeting in between the sections. Most seats were taken by people who had their heads glued to newspapers, dated to the most recent date, with events that took place not too long ago. Each passenger present, but the atmosphere hallowed. The train felt lonely, plain, empty, even with all of these people around. The man looked over faces, while he made his way down the aisle, with no recognition to anyone that bent their head down toward the stories that laid in their hand. He peered his head. He wasn’t just looking for a seat, instead looked over all who already accompanied one. His face grinned when he came to a familiar face that stood out amassed the unrecognized. Sat down was a old man, who seemed to be someone from long ago. The man looked to his book and walked himself through the aisle. To find himself welcomed, he only had to understand the world that he was in and recognize the beauty. For that endeavor, it brought him peace. A lesson he learned a long time ago, from someone who came off as a complete stranger, but changed a perspective on the world around this man.

The man was alone on his way to a seat, but wasn’t worried about being alone. In fact, it was his way to enjoy the company of others, he didn’t have to worry them or trouble them for anything. He only had to focus on himself and enjoy the ability to be alone. He had moved on from all who came into his life, as they would all leave and never came back. Though, there is one time where this man only seemed to be accepting of someone taking place in his occupied space, a man who let him learn about the calmness of being by one’s self. All that that person had left behind was the simple book that this man hadn’t ever let go of.

He finished his stride to the seat, his book still resting in his palm, gripped tightly, coming to the untaken seat. He sat down and claimed it as his own, his own little world amongst the collective of all the ones surrounding him. He opened the book in front of him, to the page behind the cover, but he couldn’t even read the first line until he was interrupted by the sound of the conductor reciting the next stop, “Road to Nowhere, we’re going to be here for a while”. That wasn’t exactly what the conductor said, it is just what this man had heard, to comfort him, readying to dive into his own world, like everyone around had already done. He was ready for the train ride itself, yet he couldn’t seem to start the story that laid in his hand.

As he laid the book in his hand, handled just the spine, but couldn’t seem to find a hold on reality, while among people that he could consider peers, they were already worlds apart, riding along on their own trip with their own destination, and all this man has is a book in his stead and nothing but eyes gazed to the one who he might have known. Could it have been that guy?

He shook off those ideas and went back to reading, turning to the first page and starting upon a journey that would take him somewhere, where he didn’t worry about the place he was going or those would come interrupt his journey. The book only meant that he would enter a different place, where only the words on the page made sense and could be rationalized into a dreamscape that was defined by already predetermined thoughts, understandings, yet he only understood the timing for his trip, not the reason for going on it.

A stranger had given him this book, sending letters throughout the years, finding a collection with them, together. While the trip was to finally move on from a part of him that had already moved on. It was a testament to moving forward, unknowingly into a blank void, with no goal in mind and no one to help him find that goal, except what he had already known and had with him. He only had that book and himself at this point, with a place that, while comfortable in physicality, was the most painful experience that had happened thus far. He was here, by himself, amongst a crowd of people that had secluded himself, while being able to adjust to their own sphere of relevance. Until the train stopped again, and someone moved up from the seat, a man with a gray, shimmering sight, wearing clothes that seemed to fold to their own creases. This balded-scalp gentleman pointed to the book, rested against the walls that confined the one who sat, and said, “That is a book that I haven’t read in a long time, it is a good read. I hope you can enjoy yourself with it.”

The man looked up, looked at the one in front of him, and recognized the face. “The world isn’t so lonely as it may be, ‘Love your solitude and try to sing out with the pain it causes you. For those who are near you are far away… and this shows that the space around you is beginning to grow vast…’” Spoke the gentleman, beholding a smile that seemed to calm and lighten up a space that was filled with nothing the man.

All he could think was, so it was him. The gentleman spoke, “Why don’t we discuss it after the ride? I have no destination in mind, but would gladly accept your company.” and he smiled, for the company of someone else. The world blurred, and he wasn’t worried about the places he would be, but finally the person who helped him grow to become the man he is.

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