Love left on a train

The smell on her breath was whiskey and smoke. I pulled back from the kiss and gazed into her eyes, which looked at me with a mix of loving affection and terrible sadness. She turned away from me and boarded the train going toward Penn Station. I stood back and lit a cigarette. The train was soon gone, and I was alone on the platform looking across the street toward the Jewish temple which sat opposite the tracks.

The rain fell in tiny drops; smoothly and with minimal noise. Trying to keep my thoughts empty, I walked down from the platform and saw a bum sleeping on the bench. He was muttering something inaudible, but it sounded as if he was saying, “Never be another one. . .” It might have been my imagination though because I also had fairytale of New York stuck in my head, even though it was nowhere near Christmas.

I didn’t feel like going home. That was the last thing I wanted to do. I always wanted to keep on the move, stopping only to rest or eat, and then boarding the next train elsewhere. Instead, my only love was on that train and going back somewhere far away. I felt like a fool, a liar, and a coward. A fool for believing our love would always last, a liar for even thinking such thoughts, and a coward for not having the balls to board the train with her. In the end, I had made my choice and here it was: the small suburban town in which I was born and in which I will probably die.

The thought hit me like a stone from a slingshot. I doubled over, gasping for breath. This is not how I wanted things to be. What happened to the kid that swore up and down that he would get out of here and live his own life? What happened to those courageous words that he had said to others when he bragged about his guitar, his writing, his poetry, and his conviction? What happened to that guy? He was still here, but he was gone—gone like the love who boarded the train. I realized then that it wasn’t just a person who boarded the train, it was a feeling and it was gone.

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