My future is delivered unto me at Jenkintown.


A Compilation of Stories, Journal Extracts, and Letters From My Fairly Ordinary But Minutely Observed Life

 “I swear to God, it’s all true.”

1968 : Age 20

1973 : Age 24

Jenkintown Station

A moment wherein my future is delivered unto me.

In September 1968 I returned to school.

And where I had previously taken the El, I now, and for many years in the future, took the train, The Reading. Going to school or work, I boarded the Reading at various stations depending on how late I was: Willow Grove, Roslyn, Noble, Jenkintown, Glenside, Fox Chase, Fern Rock. They each had their uses, even their charms, but my favorite was always Jenkintown. The station house, built of brown gray stone, stretched along the platform with ticket windows and long benches outside. On cold winter mornings there was warmth inside and smoke coming from the chimney. I would look at the tracks converging on this place, those from Hatboro on one side and those from the Huntington Valley/Trevose on the other, both meeting just before the station. I was familiar with the Hatboro line but had never taken the Trevose line, except as far as Noble, one station up. But the rails disappearing into the distance made me want to know what was there, who was there. Though I had been through those places many times by car, the rails seemed to go somewhere else, somewhere not accessible except by them.

And I now remember an early evening in autumn, around 1973. The day’s light fading. I am standing on the outbound platform of the Jenkintown station, the wind gusting, orange brown leaves swirling about my feet. In the distance I see a train’s headlight wobbling. The lead car gradually growing in size as it approaches. Looming large, then suddenly enormous the train reaches the platform, its sound, smell and mass overwhelming me as it whooshes past, squealing to a stop. This train I am not boarding. Rather, this train is bringing me someone whom I now see poised at a middle coach door. Her visage shines among the drawn faces and hunched shoulders of this anonymous crowd. I walk toward her, seeing no one else, drawn as always to her light. Seeing my approach, she beams happily at me and then down at the conductor, who, she has just noticed, is offering her his hand. The conductor, caught by her smile, lights up too, his old Irish face aglow as he helps her down the steps, perhaps thinking that at moments like this his job is wonderful.

And so
Was Catherine delivered
Into my arms
At Jenkintown

Submitted: February 17, 2014

© Copyright 2023 saintdel. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

Facebook Comments

More Flash Fiction Short Stories

Other Content by saintdel

Short Story / Non-Fiction

Short Story / Non-Fiction

Short Story / Non-Fiction