Once I caught a train down south - true story. I was young and wasn't prepared for what I encountered. On the way back home the soft sound of the engine's clatter was all I could hold on to for sanity.
Another time I walked along the train tracks with my parents. They told me stories of distant relatives I'd never met. We went much further away from town than we planned, and we were all tired when we got back.
On a third occasion, I put my ear to the tracks to hear the train coming. I imagined myself tied there, like the hero in some Wild West movie. I imagined that sound as the sound of impending doom.
Sometimes it seems my life is a railway station where the trains are always running late. The cafe is closed, and the vending machines are out of stock except for some sugar-free health bars and water in plastic bottles. There are too many tickets, too many trains, and the stationmaster was never trained to deal with this shit.
I have lived near the rail tracks all my life. In a way they have defined me. Crying "Train! Train!" When the big freights go past, and cursing them later, as they shake our basement bedroom at 4am. Iron cars and stacked tree logs. Passengers going a few stops or a few towns.
One day I'll ride them again, when we return to a newer normal. Soon.
(Image by AlmightyMelon - original work.)