I’ve always loved trains. I guess this is because I was raised on the wrong side of the tracks.
I would wake up in the middle of the night hearing their ‘chugga chugga’ blow in through the screened-in window. I could only catch the rumbling it would let through, it was either that, or hordes of mosquitos buzzing around my head. Their noise is like the symphony of cricketss or the purring of the Boston Whalers cutting the water behind my parent’s house. It is a remembered comfort, a lullaby of memory as I get older.
Trains excite me, I know there is always an adventure waiting at the tail end of them. It’s magical to watch them swing through the desert like oblong snakes of Pez candy. They don’t scare me, with all of their clanging metal and molten guts of rattling fire. They’re like huge beasts to be petted and soothed, not unlike the horses I grew up taming. Trains can take me wherever I want to go, particuliarily in dreams where they carry messages, warnings and pieces of my subconscious back to me. Trains bring me places and people, remembered or present.
When I lived in Jacksonville, FL, my last year in that town, I got to see where it was that they make trains behave. You know trains could figure out a way to get around without tracks, if we'd let them. They're animals, we made them that way. One of my dear friends, okay, deepest scars, worked in one of the roundhouses. CSX…ech! I still hiss everytime I see one of their logos. But I loved walking around that cylindrical building, looking at all of the screens, figuring out which crossings I drove over to get to school every morning. But that wasn’t all. I also was able to pinpoint the crossing right by my parents home. I looked at my friend and said, “Hey, there’s where home was.” He shook his head and dragged me outside. “I want you to meet someone.”
We walked over to the guardhouse and in through the open door.. A head of chin length blonde hair whirled around in the chair.
“Kir, this is Scott. Scott, this is Kir, my girlfriend I told you lived in Savannah over the summer.”
I know I blushed to my toes as soft blue eyes that lit up like Cathedral rose windows touched on me then quickly looked down. “Nice to meet you.” Thanks Mom for teaching me all that politeness bullshit. It comes in handy when I’m nervous.
“How’s it going?” He asked softly and we shook hands, just as the five-‘o-clock came roaring by. And there was a JOLT! The wind lifted up around the guardhouse, spinning and flipping leaves, and the noise from the tracks got louder and louder. Wrists! My god, here I am staring stupidly at the hand I’m still holding looking at the bones and dark tanned skin of his wrists. I swear there’s something wrong with me sometimes.
We let go quickly, even more embarrassed that a moment ago. Greg, my friend, started shooting the shit with his buddy, as Scott leaned back in the chair and had an easy smile on his face. I looked out the windows trying to find something else to concentrate on, as both of our eyes darted back to one another.
I knew. He knew. And the whistling of the train faded in the distance. Scott began asking me questions, about Savannah, about Daytona. I don’t remember how I answered, but I know the words were shaky and shy. Definently not the Windigo style of today. And his voice was light, soft lisp because of those adorable rabbit teeth. And I knew I would know you, know you well, come hell or high water.
I had no idea I’d love you.
I had no idea you would set the standard.
No, I didn't forget. Not until you did.
And Maryland got reborn into a place for other people.
But you were supposed to go.
God, you’d laugh your ass off at all the trouble your Kir’s gotten herself into now. But you knew I would, and you kept telling me…
Where are you now? Can you hear them wailing in the night where you are like I do? If I run to catch this train, would it take me to you now so late in the game?
7.17.2009 What an absolute moron I was. All the way around. And probably will continue to be....