I used to walk by the train tracks near my high school to see if they had left a railroad car behind. Sometimes they would and when they did, I would climb up to the top. As I sat high above the ground, I thought of what life would be like if I hopped on a train, any train, and rode it across the world. Back then, I used to read more than I do now and was convinced I could survive off the sustenance of new places and faces and knowledge that were all printed on pages filled with someone else’s words. But I never stayed up on them long enough to be hauled away with them because the cops drove by too frequently.
There wasn’t always an abandoned car when I walked by and those are the times I would sit on the ledge of an old, unused platform and read surrounded by dirt and plants that were trying to reclaim the landscape. I try not to remember all the trash people had thrown everywhere.
I used to read there. Hidden from normal people, but still in plain sight. You could find me if you were looking, but you’d miss me if you were in a hurry. That’s the kind of person I’ve always wanted to be, ever since I learned how to read and how to find new places to hide.
On one of those reading occasions, I heard a train in the distance and looked up to meet it’s gaze as it slowly, or not so slowly, made its way by me. In an act of courage, probably more like desperation, I quickly gathered my belongings and started after the train. In my head, I knew I would never be able to catch it. I knew it was going too fast and that it was too dangerous to jump on. I knew I needed more than a book to hold me through to the other side of the world, but I ran anyway.
The farther away from me it got, the faster I ran until my legs wouldn’t carry me any farther. It was sad to see a dream of mine moving away from my grasp, that I couldn’t see the world this way, but I’m glad I tried. I don’t know if I would have been able to keep on living if I hadn’t at least done that.
Inspired by a Facebook Status,
posted by yours truly exactly seven years before this was written.
so i was walking on the train tracks and i heard the train when it was super far away. i found an abandoned platform and decided to read until the train passed. I waved to the train guy and picked up everything and i ran after the train! i didn't catch up to it, but it made me happy:]
March 14, 2011 at 5:52pm
March 14, 2018 at 8:21am