Reflecting on a train ride seems a bit silly but can you consider every being that steps foot into a train and their story?
They may get off work late. They might be meeting a friend for a date. They could be wandering without a clue where they’ll end up.
See a train goes and it goes. It doesn’t think about those it takes to and from. You rush down those tile stairs, your shoes pitter pattering, the noises echoing as you make your grand escape. You’ve got your big puffy coat on, expecting late snowfall because the damn rodent saw his shadow again. But that doesn’t matter to the train. It bustles and bustles, the same as it does at 6am on morning rush, the same speed for your 10pm runaway. Just as predicted you’re in a wind tunnel, and that train announces itself very frankly.
whirring louder, louder…just like your heart. The beauty of the subway is that your anxious looks and your heavy breathing, sweaty forehead, and oversized clumsily packed backpack are not as out of the ordinary as you think. You’ll step on that crowded train sandwhiched between people who don’t give two shits about the horrible things you’re escaping, and others who if they know they’d help you in a heart beat. But you can’t tell a soul. It may be a cautionary tale no one wants to hear. Or maybe you don’t want anyone to hear. To judge, of all things you? But you know that’s what happens. You stay quiet that is until later.
But that train, those college kids you were stuffed between and you snuck a seat from, they didn’t need to know. You feel jealous of others on the train, something you’d never expect. They seem to have simple lives. A facade the train creates. No human has a simple life. We are social, inherent beings who have created organized government- nothing is so basic here. And those kids, they were happy and probably headed to drinks that you feel you’ll never be invited to. But you sit with your oversized bag, and you worry with your tote bag. Because this isn’t a trip out, and this isn’t a girl’s sleepover event. It’s a way out.
You heed every warning ever given to you, you don’t break rules but you’d rather be on a sketchy train than at a sketchy home by now. Who takes the subway alone at 10:30 pm that isn’t drunk, sad, or a workaholic? You. You are the one taking the subway to an apartment for safety. That is who you are.
Those padded seats and tinted windows don’t expect weary old you to need them to rest. How could you relax on a train like that? In your circumstances or at all? Admittedly it could be done simply not by yourself and that’s okay. Sleep didn’t come easy that night with the pooling of anxiety in the gut. Escape takes planning and time and you had passively done part, but had to deal with the rest by sunrise.
And just as the sun rose, you are met by the train again. She does not remember why you took her. She sees the same commuters, stuffing her carts until their breath fills the windows with fog. You’ve snuck into a seat discarded by a business man after his stop.
oh how lucky you are to have found it.
luck, is an interesting idea because you seem pretty down on it. You have no plan for your return. Plotting down the time to get yourself moved, but you can’t be sure that you’ll get that right.
Its no matter to the train. Stopping at the exit with it’s terrible stairs that leave you wheezing. Maybe it’s a reminder that you aren’t so innocent in your own need to escape. Maybe it’s inconvenient for everyone too. Your lungs burn in the crisp morning air once you’ve climbed those stairs.
Its time to bid farewell to the station until next time, you pray it’s under better circumstances. You long to take the train for a night out on the town. You wish someone would take you out. Have fun. Let loose.
You hear the train rumble one last time as you walk to “home”. The warmth enemates from steel slatted breaks in the sidewalk. She is on her next destination.
And so are you.