Panting for breath, I ran through to double doors of the city L train just before they closed and a grabbed on to the nearest handle available and held on to it as the engine cranked to life and I, along with the rest of the passengers on this sort of grungy conveyance with half broken seats and musty windows felt the ourselves swaying backwards as the the train lurched forward.

"Excuse me" I mumbled to the gentleman to my left after I bumped into him. The other man grunted from underneath his small tweed hat which he had pulled downwards, presumably to block out his eyes from seeing the overly crowded car.

"Ladies and Gentleman, your attention please" came the voice over the loudspeaker.  "My name is Trent and I am the conductor for this train this evening.  For the next few hours, we will be together as we travel through  SoBri,  Hill Valley,  St. Thomas Village and 5 Points West.  Remember to be kind to other as we travel"  

This was the same route that this train took everyday.

I just happened to live just beyond the 5 Points West area, so I always stopped there and walked the rest of the way, up a hill to a little one room apartment I shared with 3 other guys.

Like a lot of the other people on this train, this was the end of the work day and everyone was anxious to get home, have dinner and take part of the entertainment and then rest until the next day began and we started the process all over again with the morning drag to the train and to work.

I worked in a warehouse receiving area lifting heavy boxes of product and putting them on various transports to be sent elsewhere.   It was simple enough work, of course, although we had to also keep a meticulous inventory of everything we shipped because if we didn't there would be a very long audit and an even longer speech about work performance from the boss and also another one from his boss. 

It's kind of a crazy sort of monotony that sort of paid the bills but that was all.   Occasionally, I would have my lunch on a small picnic table outside away from the usual chatter from the other workers, since their conversation mainly about the latest sporting match.

I could sit there at the bench and look down at the small patch of ground with a little grass growing through the cracks around and imagine a whole world based on that small patch of ground filled with all kinds of wildlife. There would be pathways all through that and a large house built within  the trees like a super large tree house where one could seek sanctuary from this world.

It sounded like some sort of childhood fantasy that I could use to escape the real world that was in front of me that had no imagination and no use for it, so it seemed.  

"Bread and Circuses"  I said to myself  whilst still riding that train. 

A sudden lurch from the train drew me out of my reverie as the sudden squealing sound of the brakes  penetrated my skull.   I was a little dizzy for a moment, then, I heard the words "SoBri" come from the speakers.   Several people from some of the other cars got off there at this stop while everyone in this car remained still. 

"Hmm... that's different" , I thought to myself, also noticing that the man that was to my left, was replaced by a woman with green eyes and blonde hair  wearing a red scarf.  She looked like she belonged in a college.

I took notice of her for a moment as the train moved forward again.  Had the gentleman moved to a different car and I was just too wrapped up in my own musings that I did not notice?  I took another look around that car and noticed everyone there.  The lady in the window seat closest to me had fallen asleep, clutching a handbag, her head resting against the window.  There were several men in suits sitting down and a few construction workers holding their helmets in their free hands.

"Who are you looking for, Monsieur?"  said the woman next to me.

"Well,"  I said to her,  "there was a gentleman beside me in the place where you are now, and now, he is gone.  In fact,  I think he was gone sometime before we stopped at SoBri.  I didn't see him move"

She gazed at me, thoughtfully.  "You notice such details?"

"Well, sometimes, like today, perhaps.  Strange.."

"Strange" she muttered, smiling at me.  "Sometimes strangeness can be a welcoming thing.  It could be something just to break up the monotony or it could be just the beginning of an evolutionary change"

"A missing man on a train as an evolutionary change?"  I almost laughed. 

She laughed for me it seemed.  "Anything is possible, Monsieur". She smiled at me and didn't move a muscle as the train came to a sudden and screeching halt that threw me forward.  I was still hanging on to the handle, when she let go of hers and took some steps towards the doors.

"Wait.  The conductor hasn't announced the stop yet!", I yelled after her and she glanced at me from the open doors, beckoning me to follow her.  For some reason,  I could not resist this enticing and inexplicable invitation, so I let go of the handle as well and stepped through the doors and found myself in a luxurious meadow that ended in a rocky cliff that overlooked the ocean.  

I could smell the salt in the air as I walked through it, the sun shining down on my face as it made it's slow journey downwards beyond the sea. 

"Where am I?"  I said with wonder..

"Where do you think?"  said the woman who was standing in the middle of the field.

I looked around at the area and looked into the tree line to my right and I saw the  large treehouse, the sanctuary within my imagination.   I stared it with my mouth open in disbelief.

"No.  This can't be possible"

"No"  she replied. "All things are possible within that beautiful mind of yours. " 

I heard the waves crashing against the rocks below us as I turned to face her.  "My beautiful mind?"

The woman looked at me again.  "In your mind, the possibilities are endless.  It's up to you to find a way to share this"

"How?"  I asked....

"Shhh.... you will know...."  and then she faded leaving me to ponder her words while looking out at this marvelous vista before I finally woke up from this wonderful dream.

"I will remember this!"  I shouted.  "Even as I awaken, I will remember what you have taught me and I will find a way to share it!"

I took a last look at the house in the trees, and watched the sun fall below the  horizon,  revealing the stars, glittering in the sky as their reflections danced along the crashing waves.

April 21, 2021 18:21

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