Rains, Trains, and White Beaches with Cool Winds

Reads: 233  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Beaux having decided that he has failed and hit rock bottom decides that enough is enough. He boards a train heading out of Detroit to wherever it'll take him. While waiting for the train to leave, he meets a little girl named Christina who challenges his current circumstance and makes him begin to think.

Submitted: November 03, 2013

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 03, 2013

A A A

A A A


Rain, Trains, and White Beaches with Cool Winds

By: D’Marco Ansari

 

He was sitting on a train. Waiting. Thinking. Anticipating his next moves. He just had to get out of this city. This disgusting city. This one city that represented everything that was beautiful and ugly at the same time. Where the crimson rose grew right next to the weeds that surrounded it and choked it of its beauty and meaning. He sat staring out that train window. If it could just get him to his destination, the next city, hell the next station; he just needed to leave. To get to where he was going. To get to where he needed to be. Anywhere but here; in this city.

He had been here so long he could taste it. He could feel it in his bones, feel it circulate through his blood. He could remember its cold cattle prod poke him in the night from his sleep and frenzy his brain until he couldn’t sleep anymore. He could remember the warm tears of perpetual failure fall from his tears at night when he was forced to stare into the mirror one more time to see himself slowly become more of a failure and disappointment than the success that he promised his family he would be. He could feel the chains and shackles that his demons and vices locked around his ankles while society seemed to assist with making his situation even more difficult to get out of. Worst of all was the cold blue, brown and clear glass and the occasional aluminum can that provided him with his only support while hindering his desired escape. It was a perpetual downward spiral that he no longer wanted to be on.

This city wasn’t his friend and the more he tried to befriend her, the more she seemed to hate him and keep him in his rut. All he wanted to do was get out. His friends were now all gone; “flighty” and “heady”; too unstable to be trusted and when he looked up, those friends weren’t there to save him; weren’t there to give him that helping hand that he needed to get out of his darkness. Only a few shoulders had felt his leans and only a few souls had seen what his had become. He couldn’t do it anymore; he had to leave.

He sat in his seat quietly contemplating, watching the window, and twirling a ring on his finger. A ring that once gave so much promise to only show the cold sting of life’s bitter realities. Occasionally he looked down the aisle to see the other passengers with their loved ones and significant others as they took their seats. Lawyer types, business types, college students, little kids excited about their new adventure. The train conductor walked up and down the aisle checking tickets and explaining the delay.

“Sir, can I see your ticket?”

“Here you go sir. I have a question for you?” he said with a cold stern look on his face. No emotions.

“Here you go and what’s your question?”

“When will this train be moving? I’ve been sitting here waiting for this train to leave for 15 minutes now.”

“There are several delays sir. There seems to be some mishap with our online system and more people than capacity bought tickets. We’re sorting that out. Also there is a much larger freight train that we are waiting to get word from before moving. And lastly, our mechanic is fixing a few things in the engine. I’m sorry for this delay but we do not expect this to last much longer.”

“I really need to get out of here.” He said as he clutched a small bag that he kept sitting in his lap. An old beat up backpack that showed signs of the worst maltreatments.

“I’m sorry sir but we’re doing the best that we can.”

“Thanks.”

He went back to staring out the window. He was too angry. Too upset. Too disgusted. But he was disgusted at himself more than the situation. This was his fault. He had did this. All of his actions and desires had brought him to this point. This was his doing and he was paying for this. Another tax by the city that he had given so much to and taken so much from. His grandmother always said that you paid all your debts before you left this plane. Now was his turn.

As he sat in silence and impatience, a man walked towards his seat. He saw him in his peripheral vision but decided not to respond. No one in this city other than the train conductor had something to say to him and he wasn’t being cordial for anyone anymore. He had tunnel vision and nothing mattered but this train getting through it.

“Excuse me.” The man simply ignored him. No comments, no questions, no discussions; “Just get me to the next place!

“Excuse me, sir.”

“Yes.” The man said with a cold stare.

“Hi. Umm it seems that all the seats are filling up really fast and I was wondering if I could…”

“Sorry. This seat is taken. I’m waiting for someone to come here.”

“I see. Well, umm, I don’t see any other luggage next to you and the only reason I’m asking is that my  wife wants to sit by the window over here plus we need to discuss something in a somewhat private matter and we want our daughter to sit close. This seat is right across from where we’re sitting. It seems that this is an annoyance to you but if you could allow us this, I would be truly appreciative. My daughter is going to throw on her headphones and watch a movie on her tablet. She won’t bother you at all.”

“There’s nowhere else for you guys to sit? I mean I seriously don’t want to be bothered. I have a lot on my mind.”

“Sorry there isn’t. I can go check but if all else fails then my daughter will just sit there until whoever you are waiting for comes and takes the seat.”

“I would appreciate you going to look.”

“Very well. Until then, I’m going to have her sit next to you while I look.”

“Fine.”

“Thank you Mr…..”

“Just call me Beaux.”

“Beaux. Sweetie, Mr. Beaux would really like it if you were quiet and didn’t make so much noise. Okay?”

“Okay daddy. Thank you for letting me sit next to you Mr. Beaux.”

“Sure thing.”

Beaux threw his head back to the head rest of his chair. Tears of exhaustion rolled down his cheeks and he made no attempt to wipe them away. Lost soldiers of a battle that never ended on a day that never saw tomorrow. He had been up for days debating this final trip out of his city. He was walking away with nothing. No money, no serious luggage,  just the clothes on his back and hope that he could make something out of nothing in the next place. He wasn’t a hero; he wasn’t a soldier or a trooper. He was a quitter, a gambler, a drunk, a loser, and in many ways, a degenerate, scum of society. This wasn’t an act of empowerment and he didn’t do it for any silver stars. This was his bow; this was him falling on his sword. This was his bullet to the back of the head; this was his rock bottom.

The little girl saw these tears but she didn’t understand and she didn’t comment. But she did think. Such a pretty day and this man is crying. As she sat on the Amtrak train on the Grand Blvd Bridge waiting to go see her grandmother in Chicago, she didn’t see anything sad. She loved train rides and she really loved trains. Had only been on the train once before but she didn’t remember it; she was too young so she had to take her mom’s word for it even though she didn’t really believe it. She didn’t say anything to this man, this Beaux character, but she definitely thought it.

Her father came back over to the seat to give Beaux an update.

“Sorry Beaux but it seems that there are no other seats. I talked to a group of college students but you know how that can be. I hope Christina isn’t being a bother. We tend to know how she’s going to behave in the first five minutes of observing her. Seems as though it’ll be a good day.”

“No worries. She seems to be fine.”

“Awesome. If you need anything or she acts up or is too loud or whatever, just let me know and I’ll move her.”

“Sure.”

Now that that was squared away, the father could go talk to his wife. Recently employed, he and his wife had to discuss finances which was not going to be a good conversation. He went from being a marketing and advertiser for a small firm in Detroit to a media sales person for a medium sized firm in the suburbs. His wife was forced to carry the weight but she was a lawyer. Even for her, business seemed to be shrinking in this economy. They were going to Chicago to see her mother and father to get a loan to start a small consulting business because making ends meet was getting more and more difficult. They lied to Christina and told her that they were going on vacation and that they would go sightseeing and then to the beach, but the reality was that they would only be down there two days and there wouldn’t be much sightseeing. It was a lie they were forced to tell but they had to do what they had to do especially since all of their friends and family had moved out of Detroit for greener pastures. They were all they had and Chicago was where they needed to go to sustain their family.

Beaux continued staring at the roof of the train car and twirling the ring round his finger hoping that he would feel that jerk in the back of his neck that was then proceeded by a rumbling under the train and forward inertia. Ten minutes was just too long and he was dying to leave. The graffiti one hundred yards away only reminded him of the many nights he spent out in the streets getting in trouble throwing his life away. It was sickening to him. A victim of his own crimes. All he wanted was silence, stillness, and peace; a quiet place to just fill the wind blow and hear waves hit the shores like beaches in heaven. All he wanted was to sit and be quiet; total contentment. More tears slid down his eyes. These weren’t tears of failure though; tears of endless desperation, but like the last ones, he let these stay too. Please train, move!

“Mr. Beaux, are you okay?”

“I’m fine. Just a lot on my mind.”

“Is it something bad?”

“No.”

“You look like you’re crying.”

“I’m not crying.” Beaux wiped his face which had now become light brown with shades of pink around his eyes.

“Are you going to a funeral? That would be a sad thing.”

“How old are you little girl?”

“I’m not little. I’m 10 years old.”

“That’s little. You’re not 13.”

Beaux had stumped the little girl. She had no idea how to respond to that answer. Technically, Beaux was right but she didn’t feel like a little girl.

“But it’s bigger than 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, and 9. I’m bigger than all of those.”

“You have a point there.” Beaux said with a small smile before looking back out the window.

“Where are you going?”

“Wherever this train takes me.”

“Huh?”

“I’m going wherever the train conductor takes me.”

“You aren’t going to a particular place?”

“Nope. Wherever this train conductor kicks me off is where I’m going.”

“We’re going to Chicago. We’re going to see my grandma.”

“Oh yeah.”

“Yup. And we’re going to go to the beach, and the museum, and then get ice cream, and then the Magnicient Mile.”

“Do you mean the ‘Magnificent Mile’?”

“That’ what I said, the ‘Magnicient” Mile.” Beaux laughed.

“Mr. Beaux, why are you sad?”

“I’m not sad.”

“Then why do you look like it. My dad always says, ‘No one cares that you are sad, so there is no reason to let people see that you are’. Do you agree with that?”

Two thoughts filled his head: Her father’s right and I am visibly sad.

“You have to smile more, Mr. Beaux. Life is not so sad.”

“You know what little girl, you’re really smart.”

“That’s what my teacher says. She says that I’m one of the smartest kids in the class.”

Christina put her headphones on after having stated all she needed to state. Beaux looked at this little girl. Shocked not by her innate wisdom, but his own ignorance to these valuable simple truths that this little girl expounded on him. He knew this once before; a long time ago before things took a turn for the worse. Before he lost hope in better days.

The train still hadn’t moved and from the looks of things the delay would be much longer. Beaux tried to get the attention of the conductor but there was no luck since his earlier tone became stuck in the conductor’s head. No longer a friendly, the wait dragged on with no chance of getting an update.

Beaux returned to staring out the window captivated by the graffiti tag on the side of a building that read “hope”. Beautifully mastered, it was this graffiti that taunted him. So much hope he had that had failed him yet he desired to give it one more shot but the pain was too much. Too many failures had come from hoping. He could feel himself falling from Christina’s girlish ideas of hope to his seasoned understanding of despair and failure. Short lived this flickered idea of chance and hope.

“Beaux, can I ask you a question?”

“Sure.”

“What is heaven? I mean I know what heaven is but what do you think it’s like?”

Beaux did not want to answer this question. It wasn’t because of his recent life situations and epiphanies that caused him to want to leave his home and lose faith in everything, but because it wasn’t really his place to discuss philosophies that they may not approve with someone else’s child.

“I’m not sure. What do you think?”

“Golden streets, mansions, parties with all my friends, and happiness. No one is ever sad so you would have no reason to look so sad. You would always be happy. That’s what I think heaven is like. What about you?”

Beaux smirked at the idea of his own infinite happiness, but Christina’s steady gaze into his eyes waiting on his response let him know that he would not be getting around answering this question.

“Beaches.”

“Beaches?”

“I think heaven has long beaches with white sand that stretch for miles. There’s a cool wind that blows that relieves the heat from the sun that always shines on the pure blue waves that break against the shore right under my feet. Yards from the beach sit my house that is simple but peaceful. Every day I walk up and down this beach listening to the wind blow and the ocean crackle. I am totally content and totally at peace.  That’s what heaven is like to me.”

“That sounds really nice. Do you have a family up there?”

“I do but they only come around every so often. I spend a lot of time reading and resting and watching the waves. Sometimes I even go for a swim.”

“Can you swim?”

“No but I learn how to.”

“That sounds really nice.”

“You are a very interesting kid, Christina. Why are you asking me all these questions?”

“I don’t know Mr. Beaux, you seem sad but you seem like a good person. Maybe you’ve just had a bit of bad luck.”

This time, Beaux feeling his emotions moving to the top of his throat, he stopped the conductor.

“Excuse me conductor, could you please give me an update as to what is going on?”

“I’m sorry sir. We’re running into difficulties fixing the engine. We don’t know how long this will take but hope that we will be able to get this train moving within 30 minutes.”

“Sir, I really need to leave.”

“I’m sorry sir. The best that could be done is that you are compped your ticket and you find another way to …. Where were you going?”

“Thank you, sir. I will think about my options.”

The train conductor tilted his hat and walked away.

“Why didn’t you tell the conductor where you were going? Isn’t he supposed to take you to where you are going?”

“Just because you sit on a train doesn’t mean you have to know where you are going.”

“Then why sit on the train at all?”

“Because sometimes in life you just have to go. You have to move. You have to get up and do something. You have to force change. So often in life, you get complacent. Do you know what complacent means?”

“No.”

“Complacent is when you seem to be going nowhere and you accept that you are not going anywhere. You understand?”

“No.”

“Complacent is like standing in the middle of a big storm. And the rain keeps pouring down on you, but you keep standing there. And as the rain comes down harder and harder, you continue to stay there. And the reason that you stand there is because you can’t see anything forward and you can’t see anything behind you. You don’t have to see anything to move, you just accept that you don’t see anything and so you don’t move. Do you understand that?”

“I think I do. So you are happy that the rain keeps falling on you?”

“No. You just accept that it’s raining on you.”

“Why would anyone do that?”

“Because they are afraid.”

“Afraid of what.”

“Moving. The certainty that the rain is going to keep falling and that it may or may not end is more comfortable than the fear of moving and experiencing something better or worse.”

“Are you standing in a rain storm?” Christina, with her brain cap now fully functioning, was starting to realize that the sad Mr. Beaux was no longer talking about rain storms and trains but something bigger, more abstract than she had been giving him credit for. Something in him fueled this sadness that spilt from his mouth in jumbled and fumbled concepts and metaphors. He wasn’t talking about simply going somewhere anymore; he was touching something much deeper.

Beaux knew from the question that she was starting to understand more of what he was talking about and although he was happy that she was catching on, he was more miserable knowing that he was bringing an innocent child into his dark world of sadness and depression. For the concern of a child, he had let his run of misfortune contribute to the warping of a child’s view of the world. Reminded him of the times when he was younger and what he knew was challenged and destroyed by the inadequacies of his relatives; told he wasn’t good enough because they had not lived up to their promises, forced to do things he hated to satisfy the dreams and desires of those who had come before him. How can I do to this girl what was done to me? This girl is 10 years old; she should not be forced to listen to my sad stories.

He could feel Christina waiting on an answer from him, but what was she thinking. Was she formulating his crappy view of life into her own understanding of what life could be? Making room on her memory bookshelf to one day draw upon as a guide to living her own life? How great of a crime to impregnate the ideas of a child with the failures and woes of the adult world!

“Yes. I’m standing in a storm.”

“Then why don’t you move?”

Hmmm. I guess she is right. Christina was right but not the kind of right that bends your opponent to their knees, but the kind of right that makes the mind challenge its own logic. If I am standing in a storm and I just said that the problem is that people who stand in these “storms” are simply complacent, then isn’t my problem that I’m just standing in the storm making no real moves forwards or backwards? Aren’t I just accepting my storm? Aren’t I just “being” instead of” living”? “Watching” instead of “doing”? Aren’t I just the problem, my own source of unhappiness?

“You’re right.”

“Or at least get an umbrella?”

The sadness that Beaux had in the beginning of the trip was replaced by thought and anxiety. Like a train that was slowly cranking up. Like a machine that had sat unused for many years now being turned on. He was “accepting” his life not “living” his life. When it rains it pours but like Christina so elegantly put it, at least use an umbrella. Storms come and go they never last forever, but when you get used to wearing your rain clothes it gets hard to put on your flip flops.

Beaux stared out the window again at that devastatingly painful “hope” graffiti tag that taunted him; and the more he stared, the more painful it became. It began to pierce his emotions, pierce his mind. He began to shiver a cold painful shiver until suddenly his vision went black. When it returned, he was in a strange place in the middle of the street in the middle of a neighborhood. All the houses were but shadow figures of their normal selves. The dark blue skies unleashed a torrent of rain and lightning and thundering filled the skies in all the directions. Nothing grew in the darkness accept for the shadow trees that hung over him menacingly. The brick street showed cracks and crevices and had allowed puddles and overflows to fill the streets. He stood there in rain boots and a rain coat watching the twilight version of his proverbial rain storm as the rain poured more and more in every passing second.

He looked down to see a massive puddle that reflected the lightning back to his eyes. He looked into the puddle to find his twilight reflection. It was himself but sad and miserable. His skin was duller, his eyes were heavier, his demeanor was unimpressive. His frown, a horrible disturbing frown, hung off his face. Shadows filled the background of the puddle. He jumped up from the ground distraught by the image of his twilight self but was terrifyingly intrigued by what he saw. He went to the next puddle to find an even more distressed version of himself. He went to another and another and another searching, looking, staring, and seeing an even worse version of himself. He began to run before feeling a heavy weight placed upon his ankles causing him to fall to his knees, buckled by time and space. He put his hands on his head and began to cry. He was there; rock bottom. Forced to see his demons, to see his soul distorted by the twilight images of his innermost fears. He lay on the ground with nowhere to go and nowhere to run to.

Although he did not want to look for fear of seeing what he had already seen but more twisted and demented, he looked once more into the puddle right in front of him. He looked not trying to see another version of himself but to plead with the twilight Beaux that he may exit this hell to his real world. He stretched forward with ankles held by anchors to see into this puddle. Hoping, praying that this puddle might somehow be different; that this puddle would be his exit portal back to another hell that he was familiar with. He pulled with all his might. He stretched his arms and gripped the side of the puddle and pulled with everything that he had in him. His ankles gave slowly and he continued to pull until he was face deep in the puddle. He put his head inside the puddle to find that the puddle was but a window into yet another world.

He looked into this world to see a room. Just one room, the living room with a nice dining nook and a modestly decorated foyer. Nothing fancy: a small couch and a nice TV, a painting of a city sitting on the wall with nice reds, whites and yellows, a bike rested on the wall, and it seems that the kitchen hadn’t been cleaned due to the large mountain of dishes that rested in the sink. There was a very impressive bookshelf with literature that span several eras, generations, and continents. He looked into this room that seemed so peaceful wondering as to what would happen next.

Then a man, a modestly athletic built man, long hair and tanned skinned walked into the room. He threw his briefcase over to the side of the coat hanger and threw a newspaper onto the coffee table. He walked over to the kitchen where he collected the unfinished cup of coffee and poured it out into the sink and then added it to the collection. He then proceeded to leave the room when he looked over at Beaux. Beaux was shocked to see the man, but this man was not so shocked. Instead the man smiled. And at that moment Beaux was staring at another Twilight self but not demented like the other Beauxs but a Beaux that was moderately content. Twilight Beaux didn’t speak, wasn’t shocked and didn’t frown but put on a smile. He put his hand against the window which was actually his mirror, and Beaux followed this action by putting his hand on the puddle. Once connected, Beaux felt a feeling that he had not felt in such a long time, contentment. All of his worries seem to not matter. His woes were gone. His anxiety, his self-hate, his hurt feelings, everything that had grown to consume his every moment, his every emotion, everything that caused him grief and sadness, was gone if only temporarily.

Twilight Beaux then pulled the mirror off the wall and took it to his window. He pointed out the window telling Beaux to look with his gestures and then showed Beaux the world outside his window. Beaux looked into the outside world and saw a beautiful city with rain pouring down. But as this rain fell, the rain drops lit up what it touched with different colors. What he saw was reds, yellows, blues, greens, and purples landing and lighting up every building while mixing with one another. As the rain fell, the city lit up. It was as if the rainbow continuously fell on the world. Beaux stared a bit longer at one of the most beautiful sights he had ever seen and then Twilight Beaux put the mirror back on the wall. Beaux began to cry at such a magnificent view. Twilight Beaux smiled one more time and then waved. Twilight Beaux began to make his way out of the room before coming back to the mirror. He looked at Beaux once more and spoke.  Beaux heard these words and begin to cry profusely. Twilight Beaux turned around once more and left the room.

Beaux lifted himself from the puddle and sat up and let out the loudest tears that he could. He cried from the bottom of the belly where all the hurt and sadness resides and he poured it out. He forced out every ounce of sadness, every ounce of hurt, every ounce of disappointment, failure, regret. He forced out every ill look he received, every taunt, every love lost, every insult. He forced it all out as he sat on the ground with the rain pouring on top of his head. His pent up anger fueled the endless attack on his face as he wailed at the top of his lungs like a baby crying to be comforted. How long had it been since he let out these alligator tears!

As his lungs began to relax and the wells behind his eyes came to a slow drip as he placed his head in the palms of his hands and continued his sobbing, the rain drops ceased falling on his head. It took him a minute to realize that the drops that touched his shoes no longer touched his head but when he looked up to investigate he saw Christina standing over him with a huge smile on her face and in her hands an umbrella. From the umbrella came a light as bright as the sun that drowned out the dark skies that clouded this twilight world. The rays of the umbrella shed away his darkness, his dirtiness, and he was clean; clothes unworn by the cruelness of time. He was no longer drenched but in fresh clothes. He stood up bringing more of himself under the umbrella. As he stared into the distance, he saw that everything was bright under the umbrella. There were no potholes; the trees danced in the calming winds of the summer day, the clouds had vanished into bright blue skies. Where darkness had overcome the farthest distances of this world, there rested white sandy beaches and dark blue water at the end of the street.

He attempted to stand to his fullest potential when he was stopped by Christina’s far-stretched arms. Although she would like to reach further, she could not.

“Sorry Beaux. I cannot hold this umbrella over your head. This is a job for you to do.” Beaux grabbed the umbrella and raised it above his head and he grabbed Christina’s hand with his unused hand. “Come with me.” He said and then they began to walk to the beach.

The walk was silent. No words need be said. Every step under the umbrella changed his perspective on his life. Had my life been so bad or had I just looked at it wrong? He could see Sad Beaux in the puddles and as the umbrella touched the boundaries of their sanctuaries they began to run further into the abyss from which they came and the puddle was replaced with nothing. Sadness was but a temporary emotion, an overfed feeling that he prolonged by not gaining the gumption to move on with life to see his faults and flaws for what they really were, parts of his character. The need to run was not born from his “bad behavior” and actions; they were born from allowing parts of his character to go disrespected and unacknowledged.

After several minutes of walking, Beaux and Christina arrived at a beach. Beaux could see white sandy beaches and blue water for miles. This is what he longed for. As he stood there, a cold wind blew; his temporary moment of contentment; paradise. He attempted to take one foot onto the beach when he was stopped by Christina.

“Beaux, life is never as bad as we make it; instead, it is as bad as we perceive it. Life is tough, it’s hard, and sometimes it sucks, but these are only adjectives used to describe an abstract occurrence. Where life is tough, you can be tougher. When it becomes hard, you can try harder; when life sucks, you can learn from your mistakes and do something better in the future. The goal of life is to learn from the past, leverage the now, so that when the future becomes the present you will be better than where you were in the past. When you fail, that is your opportunity to grow and become an even better person. No failure, no disappointment, no calamity can be the end of you because the force that fuels your existence is more powerful than any obstacle this world can produce. Don’t worry about those who leave you, those who say you’re not good enough, those who condemn you, and those who choose not to be around you because although they find something you are doing not pleasing, they are just too lazy to see past your defensive boundaries to the real you.”

Beaux began to cry. How many times had he allowed the opinions of others to affect how he felt about himself? How many loves lost had he allowed to destroy future relationships? How many times had he allowed a failure to repeat itself by not learning from his mistake? Christina leaned over to him and pulled him towards the ground. She took the umbrella from him and threw the umbrella away. Beaux looked up hoping that he wouldn’t be cast back into the twilight world and he wasn’t. Although the umbrella was gone, he saw this world for what it really was not how he had perceived it.

“Nothing is wrong and everything is good. You are good. Be good. Think good. Live good. And by good, I mean be you. Love you.”

Christina raised her hands into the air and Beaux felt gravity give way. He floated into the sky above the trees making his way further and further from the beach and the street. Although he would love to stay and walk along the beach, the lesson was much greater than the reward. He turned around to see the new world he would be traveling to. He looked into the bright white light that consumed the sky. He closed his eyes and was powered full force into the empty.

“Mr. Beaux…Mr. Beaux…Are you okay?”

Beaux opened his eyes to find himself staring at the ceiling of the blue and grey train ceiling. Staring confusedly upward at nothing of importance.

“Mr. Beaux? Are you okay?”

“Umm, yeah. Why do you ask?” Beaux said awkwardly with a hoarse voice as if he had just awakened from a deep sleep.

“Well I asked you about rainstorms, and then you started acting funny. You shook a little bit and then blacked out.”

“Blacked out?”

“Yeah, I pushed you back so that no one would ask any questions. Is everything okay?”

Beaux looked outside the window of the train. He was still staring at the same graffiti that was etched on the same side of the building; the same stupid “hope” tag that for some strange reason now carried a slightly different meaning. Hope, a mere destructive idea that lured the worthless, the dispensable, the nobodies and less-thans, the degenerates into thinking that they could turn their lives around and be of use, be somebody, be worthwhile, now actually did what it was designed to do. Now, hope, provided not a guarantee but an idea that he might, just might, be able to change his situation. That the storm he rested in might have an umbrella that he witnessed in a world so far from home.

“Thank you, Christina.”

Christina looked even more bewildered than she already had, but this time she had an idea what was going on. This was what her father told her when things are “greater than they appear; when things are deeper than the surface like water in deep oceans”.

“Mr….Well I didn’t catch your name. I thought you would want to know that the technicians are stating that the train is almost ready to go. We’re doing our last checks and then we’ll be on our way. Due to the sense of urgency you expressed and our inability to deliver, I have gotten your tickets refunded. This ride is on us.”

“Thank you.”

“No problem sir.” The train conductor walked away with a satisfied look on his face. Yup, yet another satisfied customer!

“No more waiting, Mr. Beaux. Now we can get to Chicago? Or to wherever you are going? Have you decided yet?”

Beaux looked out the window at the graffiti one more time. “Hope”; that stupid, stupid tag; nonetheless, that’s what he had now. No guarantee that he would succeed and everything against him. But so was the nature of hope; attempting something with the odds against you and a great chance of failure but the reality that you have no other choice but to do it. “Hope” a fatal idea that would send Beaux further into the depths of his own hell with the reality that he may not come out of it successful, that he could fall on his face, that he could die. “Hope” the shining glint in the tunnel that fades ever so quickly if one does not hold onto it blindly and fiercely. “Hope”; that’s what Beaux had now.

Beaux looked at Christina one more time, but this time with a fading smile. A smile not built on abundant happiness and contentment but the fleeting reality that in the end this is all a dream. That the rules we live by are not of our own but of rules we’ve allowed to dictate our lives. It was a smile not of victory but of a one-in-a-million shot at happiness. Beaux looked at Christina one more time and then stood up from his seat.

He reached above the seat and grabbed his luggage, a tattered ‘70’s luggage from Italia that was worn around the edges. He picked up his coat from the seat, a coat from Macy’s he bought when he was 22 which had seen its fair share of weathered-times. He stood for a moment staring at that mesmerizing “hope” tag on the building. He twirled the ring on his finger a little more as he stared menacingly, anxiously, dreamily at what was now a new chapter in a story that he wanted to leave behind. A repulsive story of a man who simply existed. No future, no desire, no hope. He went back to that story, but this time with hope; the fatal disgusting ugliness that had the ability to transform and mold and grow and blossom into something more beautiful than he could ever imagine. That a failed man, a disgusting horrible man could still be worthwhile, still be important, and still be somebody. That a man of no valor, through hope and grace, could still be a source of light, happiness, and peace.

Beaux took off his ring and gave it to Christina. “Take this Christina; I think I know where I’m going now Christina!” He smiled. He turned around and began to walk towards the exit. Christina watched in amazement. Shocked that a man so desperate to leave would be leaving a train taking him far from where he wanted to be.

“What is this?”

“A memory that I longed to relive, a dream that I longed to come true, a hope that I longed to manifest, and a slow painful death that I forced myself to endure. Hopefully, for all the self-destruction, negativity, and despair that it has caused me, it will provide you with better fortunes. Like my grandmother once said, ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going’.”

“Where are you going?” She said turned all the way around in her seat as Beaux made his way down the aisle.

“Thank you for what?” Christina said oblivious to the world that he had seen.

“I found my umbrella. I’m going to go find my white sandy beaches!” Beaux smiled and nodded. Christina waved her hands and watched Beaux leave the train.

Beaux reached the end of the aisle and stood at the door of the train exit. He looked back towards his seat where he saw Christina watching and waiting for him to leave the train with a bright smile on her face. He smiled as he looked back her and then exited the train back to the empty platform where he had earlier hoped to make his escape. He looked at the platform door leading back downstairs to the streets, right back down to New Center, his home, the place he longed to leave. He looked backed to the gray blue stallion seeing the worlds that it would go to and the worlds from which it came. He, however, was going down, back down to the streets from which he came not a new shiny world with possibilities but an old world where all mysteries had been revealed. As he made a step towards the door, the conductor shouted “All aboard!” Beaux made eye contact with the conductor but no words need be said when a simple nod between strangers would suffice. He moved forward towards the exit from the platform back down towards the station and at that very moment, a cool wind blew.

 

For permissions:

D’Marco Ansari

Email: Dkansari24@gmail.com

Follow on Twitter: @dansari24

 

Copyright (c) D'Marco Ansari 2013

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


© Copyright 2019 DAnsari24. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments: