Manic Mom's Mental Myriads

Stop by and have a laugh from Manic Mom's Mental Myriads on Motherhood, and some other stuff too, but mostly motherhood, wifehood, thoughts on writing, etc. No politics will be discussed here or geography, and I will not be solving any mathematical equations. Just some BS on whatever I feel like blogging on...

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

TRAIN 2003

(Fiction, per C's request)

Have you ever considered, seriously wondered, what it would be like to lie down on railroad tracks, to place your life in instant danger? For eventually a train would tear through the tracks, and change the lives of everyone who knew you. Maybe appreciate you more.

The morning was one like I had never experienced, spiritually, or visually. The sky was the color of the purest blue that bounces off a prism in a kitchen window on a sparkling day. The cotton clouds were three-dimensional and blinding white, like the kind of snow that makes you shut your eyes and hope for a fast melt. They gave you a feeling of wanting to sleep, to never wake, to just climb up on one of those clouds and drown in it.

It was the kind of day that makes you contemplate life, death and all the shitty stuff in between.

I'd always believed in God, and respected and feared something greater than what I'd known. I attended church, semi-regularly, where I'd almost always put something into the brass pan during the offering, at least when Daniel attended with me. When he wasn't there, I'd pretend to drop in my envelope, when really, it was empty, no name on the front, no amount written in under the line My Offering. I figured God knew my predicaments, after all, He was partly to blame, wasn't he? So surely, He, being all-knowing, all-forgiving, wouldn't condemn.

I had a God-touching moment that day, the day I went near the tracks. It wasn't as if He was speaking directly to me. It was more like He was with me, guiding me in the direction of the railroad, to a place I wouldn't have gone on my own. I could sense a higher being in the windless atmosphere, almost a whispering but with no leaves brushing against the branches.

His planet stretched out ahead of me, this quiet midwestern countryside dotted with farms - some working and smelling of cow manure, and some wrecked, torn apart from the years of wind and rain and snow pounding upon the roofs. I imagined these were fine dwellings for families of stray cats.

The trees were bare and twigs stretched outward, arms in mocking prayer. Autumn winds had stripped them of their leaves, these branches raised, asking for something. Patch-quilt snow covered the land. Everything was so lonely. Me included.

I felt I had been walking that long stretch of road for days, just walking and thinking, being unhappy, feeling as if the naked trees were better off than I. Was, or would ever be.

Just when I was about to turn around and head back to the cause of my unhappiness, I reached the top of the hill and saw the familiar criss-cross yellow and black warning sign of the tracks.

"I'll walk to the tracks, cross, and then turn around for home." Then, another thought rumbled through my mind, much like a train tearing through a quiet empty town, "What if I didn't turn around?"

The desire struck me much like the impact of the train would. How would it feel to lie on the wood that stretched past the horizon, to feel the steel of the tracks jab into my spine, to grab fistfuls of rock and gravel, to focus on the spectacular prism of the sky, to hear the nothingness as a still wind eased through the naked trees. I imagine the hard crushing wheels of the train, runnig over my body, splurting blood and organs across miles. Ending my tired and worthless thoughts, useless dreams and pointless wishes.

I reach the gravelly surface, and look to the horizon, for an answer, I'm not sure, and the stray dog I see in the distance certainly doesn't have the answers I need. I take a step forward, and am sturdy on the tracks, just about ready to lie down, when I hear it. The low, dull moan of a train's whistle in the distance beyond the bare trees taunts me, challenges me. The sound is far enough away that I can still think, but the sharp jangle of the cross rails start clanging, and they begin to lower, encasing me between ahead and behind, right smack in the here-and-now. I'm plummeted back into my worthless reality, am once again defeated, and I stumble backwards off the tracks.

The sound is deafening, even to my dull ears, so tired of listening to the words my head keeps saying, over and over, and over again. For some reason, the warning signals blaring, the whistle shrilling, and the rush of the wind as the train cars pass, whip me into the here and now, the place I'm never comfortable.

Seven train cars rush by, each one saying, "you've failed, you've failed, you've failed." Over and over. It's deafening.

The last train shuttles past, and the conductor, thinking I was only out for an afternoon walk, on a beautiful fall day, waves and tips his hat.

I don't wave back, but I know I will one day be on the other side, the side where he will have to crank the brakes of the train instead of tipping his hat in my direction.


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