This Train You
hear the train whistle blow. You look at your pocket watch and
review the schedule times on the crumpled sheets of paper. The
receptionist gave them to you months ago . . . "To prepare you for
change," she explained. You sit on the bench and wait for the train
to lodge, wondering if this locomotive will be the one you
conductor slows and applies the airbrakes fifty miles to the east
of the train station. It screeches like sharp nails on a
blackboard. The shushing sound the steam makes stirs anxious
emotions in your mind. The
conductor's gaze passes right through you. It's not your
transportation . . . disappointment blankets your heart and snuffs
your candle of joy. You
look at your itinerary and quickly rush into the train house. The
manager solemnly shakes his head, and you sigh, despaired. You long
for departure from this noisy, bustling city. You trudge to the
curb and hail a taxi back to your boarding house. A heavy rain
begins to fall. "Perfect weather to match my gloomy mood," you
mutter. As you shuffle through the door, your host looks
sympathetically at you. "Maybe
next time, love," he whispers. You nod, trying to conceal your
hopelessness. "Friday will be here in a few days," you assure
yourself more than you do him. You climb up the stairs and rest
uneasily through the long, cold night. The next morning, you
slumber through your work at the daycare office, and all of your
accquaintances give you encouragement and comfort. Little children
hug your legs, and your eyes well and leak periodically through the
Friday comes and you tuck your blond hair under a rose-colored
bucket hat. You grab your suitcase and walk the five-mile journey
to the train station. You sit on the bench, stiff and unmoving and
wait for an half hour, then you finally hear the "chugga, chugga"
of the steel and wheels of your ride out of the city and into new
conductor squeals to a stop and steps out. "All aboard!" You look
at the side of the train, and its not your ride. The conductor
looks at the train manager and shrugs, then starts off. You start
walking home, feeling the razor in your cardigan pocket.
roll down your cheeks and you curse the sun, mocking you. "Wait!"
the manager yells. "Miss, wait!" You turn around and look at the
stout, gray-headed man heavily jogging towards you. "Miss," he
gasps, "your train is running late. It got stopped by the
thunderstorm last night, but it will be here within the
hour." A smile
overcomes your lips, and you begin to giggle, feeling like a fool,
crying for a train. You sit on the bench and the suns seems so warm
and perfect and the birds' songs couldn't be sweeter. As you wait,
you daydream what your new place will be like. You see the job
promotion and grand apartment full of friends and coworkers who
love you. You romanticize the thought of meeting and marrying Mr.
Right. You imagine summer rains and white winters.
you hear the train whistle and your mind escapes to the present.
The house manager picks up your trunk and you dial the number to
the boarding house. The hostess picks up and you tell her the good
news. You both banter for a moment, rejoicing, then you hang up the
phone, rushed. The conductor calls, "All aboard!" and you briskly
climb up the few steps. Your eyes lock with him, and he nods,
smiling. You look in the cabin and see there is no other
passengers. "Is this correct?" you cry. "Am I alone?"
train conductor nods. "Yes, ma'am, you're the only one I came for."
His kindness speaks to your soul, and you hesitate, then quietly
query him: Why? He explains that he had a dream a few months ago
that he needed to pick a young woman up at the train station in
Detroit, that it was urgent and he needed to go right away. He also
confesses that he's been traveling since the morning he awoke from
the dream. Your heartstrings are tugged, and you nod at him so
slightly you think he doesn't see. He takes your elbow and leads
you to the first seat of chairs, then goes up to the caboose. He
puts the train in drive and you start for your new life.
know where I'm going?" you ask him, curious. "A
sweet place that you will be safe in. Where your dreams are
apparent and easy to chase; a land full of rest and sweet friends,
gentle seasons and cleansing rains. This is the place my Father
wants you to be. Relax on the journey; we have a long way to
man has traveled many miles just to take you to a sweet place such
as the Land of Flowing Milk and Honey? Could this be real? You are
thankful for the opportunity, and let your eyes close.
conductor wakens you a few hours later, and leads you off the train
into green pastures. It is so peaceful out here, you may lie down
and slumber. He guides you to a warm, stone cottage and you spin
around, looking at the birds in windowsill and many leaves decorate
your floor and silk spiderwebs swirl across the ceiling. You look
into the conductor's eyes and a lump forms in your throat. "Welcome
to 23rd David Avenue." You put
the clues together. "Psalms? I'm in God's World?"
to rest. Enjoy your perpetual and natural stay."
Oh this train, that has brought you so far. Oh this train, gave
rest to your heart. Oh this train, that brought you change. Oh this
train, I will never forget this train.
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