The engine wheels chugged in, belching smoke on to the station. She looked at the clock. 11:53 am. He had promised to come at 11.
She sat on the rusty platform bench, mopping her brow with the loose end of her shirt. She could feel it coming- the shortness of breath, the perspiration, the anxiety, the confusion of it all balling into a giant mess. She could feel this mess, she carried it within herself, day in and out- a leaden weight in her heart- expecting someone to come along and make sense of it all.
He had come, a few months ago in the dawn of winter. In the dead silence of the night enveloped in his embrace, she had found the corners of her heart being tugged, gently indicating…maybe, just maybe, her time had come. This was it- her ticket to freedom, her time of salvation, her shortcut to redemption.
12:00 pm. No sign of him. Tired and sleep deprived she questioned the validity of it all. Her initial months filled with honey like sweetness had turned into a battle of existence, of making it through. But had she done enough? In the months of their romance she had flitted between the desire to love and the desire to take for a million times a minute. She was tired now. Yet, her love of those words continued to haunt her. Freedom…salvation… redemption…
She said each of them out loud, enunciating every syllable. Oh how well she had relished their piercing illumination and agonizing beauty! She wanted it all back.
12:00 pm. She looked at the faces in the train. The newly wedded couple whose dreams intertwined in a shared space no less than paradise holding hands, their eyes promising each other of happily ever afters; the old man, decrepit and withered, gazing at the station with soulless eyes; the young entrepreneur gazing listlessly at the pages of a book titled “You Can Do It” and herself, sitting on the rusty platform bench, waiting.
They were all looking for answers, be it in the eyes of their lover, in the hope of a miracle at the end of their life or in the leaves of a book that promised inner transformation. Yet, they were all waiting.
She wanted to tell herself that in those silent moments of waiting, she had experienced a profound revelation…that she had taken charge and boarded the train after promising herself a better life…that he suddenly appeared and whisked her away. The cogs churned in her head, calculating her triumphs and misfortunes, her yearnings and desires, her pitfalls and failures. Freedom…salvation…redemption… She wanted them badly.
Didn’t they all?