Afternoon's Reverie

April 4, 2011
By Anonymous

“Here goes nothing,” I thought. In just minutes, I’d be boarding this train that lies before me. I’d be boarding the train to destiny.

I give the conductor my ticket; he looks to be a crotchety old fellow. He is, perhaps, in his late 30s or so. “Have a nice trip little lady,” the conductor said. I replied with a timid ‘thank you’ and climbed up onto the train. The train is teeming with people. Mothers and their drooling children, business men with their dapper suits and faces buried deep within in their newspapers. There were plenty more people, none of them seemed to catch my attention though. I shift my eyes from left to right, anxiously trying to find an empty seat, preferably by a window. Then, after about a minute or so, I finally find a place where I may sit.

The leather upholstery has taken on a lot of abuse. Yellow, spongy stuffing was spilling out from the tiny cracks on the seat. I run my hand against the seat, feeling every crevice, break, and bump. Coarse is the best word to describe it. I l swipe my hand against the chair once again, trying to remove any dust that may have been there, and daintily lift up my skirt to sit down so as not to get wrinkles. I look out at my window; it’s covered in brown dust. I slide my index finger down the glass from top to bottom and take a white handkerchief from my purse to clean it off. When it is cleaned, I carefully fold the hanky back into its original triangular shape and place it back into my purse.

It’s a long train ride. After a few hours I can feel my eyes grow heavier and heavier. I yawn, stretch my arms out and kick off my boots to make myself comfortable. I groggily fold my arms on the arms of my seat and lay my head down, drifting off to a quiet slumber. I can hear the sound of the train chugging down the tracks, feeling the jarring reverberation below my feet. I yawn again. As I start to doze off, I start to remember something. I remember all those train rides I used to take with daddy, those many years ago. Ah, everything seemed so much simpler then. I remember how papa would hoist me up on his shoulders and I’d extend my arms out, how I’d fly through thousands of people, over a sea of faceless individuals. I remember how I would lay my cheek down against my father’s soft, tussled hair as I’d start to nod off during a warm afternoon. His hair would tickle my face and we’d both laugh as we walked towards the train. I would rub my face against his hair playfully and take in big whiffs of his hair. I can still remember that smell. It was musty, sweaty. I miss that smell. I miss my papa.

When we would board the train, I would always fall asleep on his lap. I can remember him running his fingers through my hair, lifting them into the air with an upward motion of his hand, my hair falling back down toward me. I can still remember my dad, in his tweed suit, looking outside the window as he held me, the sun beaming down towards his face. He’d sit in the sunlight and close his eyes as he gave out a great sigh of relief, look down and smile at me. I’ll never forget those days. With this pleasant reminiscence in mind, it is just a matter of time until I slip into unconsciousness.

I wake up to find the train roaring past vast empty fields. I press my face closer to the glass and stare intently as rows and rows of grain zoom past the locomotive. I can feel the sun shining against my face. I close my eyes, slowly, and bask in the sunlight.

The author's comments:
I wrote this in response to a prompt I found that asked "Write what a soap opera character would think while sitting on a train"

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