A few nights ago I was riding the lightrail system home around 1:30 am. As I rode, I stared out of the window and tried to see the city beyond the reflection of the train's interior lighting, but I couldn't. I started to compose this in my head...
We are the trains passing in the night
A million yellow lights are blinking stars
As we move in fluorescent silence
Under a half moon
And we are the trains passing in the night
Suffering silently through our solitude
Under full moons everywhere
Past so many lights that are blinking stars
Gazing out the window of our eyes
Seeing only our own reflections
Superimposed over the clear night sky
For we are the trains passing in the night
Even when there is no moon
Knowing only the cold lights of stars
All alone tonight on the waves of infinity
We watch the miles sail by
And never know that we're drowning.
You see, every time I ride the trains at night I hear that one line in my mind-- "we are the trains passing in the night"-- and I never understood what my mind was formulating until that night. Suddenly I saw the fear in every smile a stranger offered me; it was a fear that the smile would linger too long, that we would be more than polite, that a connection would be made between us. That night it seemed to me that we are all simply trains passing in the night, alone on our course, unable to connect to anything real, and then I feel the melancholy of the night creep into my heart like a shadow.
In the morning the shadow is gone. We are not condemned to exist forever as lonely wanderers. Connections can be made. At some point we will all be trains passing in the night-- but there is always the hope that one night we will be able to stop, and smile, and let it linger.