Scene From a Train
It was a beautiful summer day in August. The hint of cooler, fresher air already chased away by a sun that was well on its way to noon. A young girl, maybe eight, her younger brother and her father were standing on the platform. The girls' mother was on the train just a few seats ahead of me. The family was sporadically waving to the mother in an attempt to fill the forced distance between them. Ever so naturally the waving would slow, their eyes would wander and they would fill the silence with a conversation we couldn't hear. But the train, which had waited long enough, started the engine. With an increased sense of urgency, the family resumed waving with even more energy than before. The noises shifted a little and very slowly the train began to move. The girl began to walk alongside the train continuously smiling and waving. The train was picking up speed and the little girl started to jog. Her long blonde hair waving along with her. Then she began to run. Her arms and legs and hair desperate to keep up and all the while still smiling. The end of the platform became an inevitability and the girl glanced ahead to check for the edge. It was in that moment that the train overtook her and when she glanced back she saw me, which is to say, she saw the absence of her mother in someone else's face. And her smile was gone just like the train.