Tag Archives: trains

Market East

Matilda stared out the window of the train as the hissing sounds emitted from underneath. Her belongings were scattered on the seat next to her, both because she was unorganized and trying to keep a stranger from sitting with her. As her eyes focused on the Market East Station sign she jumped up. “Is this Market East?” she yelled in a frantic tone. The ticket collector nodded as she attempted to collect her stuff. The line of departing passengers was long gone and the hissing happened again, warning of the train’s imminent departure. She threw objects into her bag as fast as she could: a book, a newspaper, her iPad, an umbrella. She made it off just in time.

Image by Mike Garde. Click on it for his Flickr.

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Strangers on a Train

As I sat on the train I noticed the people in the seat directly in front of me. She had a big white knitted hat on as protection from the bitter cold of the early Philadelphia morning. His hat was striped and didn’t look nearly as warm. Her head rested on his shoulder and I could see from my vantage point that she was dead asleep. I wondered how long they had been on the train that her slumber could be so deep. Maybe she was just a good sleeper.

I could hear the pages turning in something he read; it sounded more like a book than a newspaper. They have a much louder sound and longer page-turning time. He seemed so relaxed and content on his morning commute. I assumed they knew each other; people need a certain comfort level to rest their head on another’s shoulder. Or maybe that’s just me. Who knows.

My single-ness was a bit painful after seeing two people so comfortable with each other, so relaxed and close. It ate away at me as I looked down at my boots, toes awkwardly pointed inward just the slightest bit, my tights keeping my legs warm and the gray sweater dress that I painstakingly chose this morning in the hope of seeing that guy I have a secret crush on; I can’t help it, I have a thing for sweater vests, what can I say.

I wonder about these two people in front of me. They seem like nice, kind people, a couple I would love to hang out with. They’re about my age, maybe twenty-four or twenty-five at the oldest. While I am dressed for office work, they look like they could be on vacation or possibly going to work in some new trendy company that not only allows jeans, but expects them. I would love to work in a place like that.

The speaker crackles and someone announces Suburban Station, next stop, Suburban Station and he nudges her gently with his shoulder; she looks up. Lines from his coat mark her face and she smiles as her hand wipes the sleep from her eyes. The train hisses and slows, he smiles at her. She gets up, fixes her soft yellow coat, and kisses him on the cheek.

“See you tonight,” he says with a smile. She smiles back and nods, then turns and exits the train.

Artwork by the always lovely and talented Nadia Lavard.

The Ghost Train

The dilapidated railroad station, aged after years of disuse, loomed above them like a ghost as they trudged up the hill.

“I always come up here when I want to be alone. You’re the first person I’ve brought here.”

She smiled, a little out of breath from the steep path.

The rusted rails disappeared into surrounding woods as she looked left, then right.

“The tracks are unused now, right?”

“Are you nervous?” he said with a smile. “They’re retired. Look at them.” He kicked a bit of rusted metal off the top. “I doubt they’d be safe run a train over them.”

She took his hand. “Thanks for bringing me here. I know this place means a lot to you. Do you ever go inside?”

“There’s a broken window around back, but it’s pretty dirty in there.”

A sound, far off in the distance, made her look to the right. “What was that?”

“I don’t know, but I hear it all the time.”

“It sounded like-“

“Go on…”

“No, never mind.”

He bent down and put his hand on the track. “Feel it.”

She did as she was told and felt the slight vibration. “What is that?”

“You were going to say it sounded like a train was coming, right?”

She nodded, a little unwillingly.

“I hear it all the time. And after I hear it, I can always feel the tracks vibrating the tiniest bit.”

She quickly removed her hand from the rusted metal. She wiped the brown dust off her hands onto her jeans as he stood back up. She stood as well and watched the tracks coming from the woods to the right, waiting.

“It won’t come,” he said, breaking the silence.

“What won’t?”

“The train.”

She took his hand, and squeezed it tight from fear when they heard the sound again, this time closer. It sounded like the echoes of the horn of a train, but not the actual sound itself. She continued to watch, waiting.

Photograph taken by Nessa Skotnitsky of Ethereal Fine Art and Photography.