Before the Train

A chilly September breeze blew around the train stop, as an old beat up ’28 Ford Pickup with two men sitting in the front pulled up. It was six-fifty. Ten minutes, the older gentleman thought. He was wearing matching cobalt pants and shirt. He carried a lit cigarette in between his cracked lips and on his head rested an old worn out brown Stetson. He took a seat on the decrepit truck’s step and took off his hat while the younger man, his son, circled around to join him with the family dog, Buck, trailing behind. In contrast to the old farmer, the boy had a clean shave. He had a shine in his eyes and red cheeks from excitement; today he would break ties with his home town and venture into the unknown. He was in a vanilla suit with pin-stripes, a red and white tie that matched his socks a pristine white fedora on his head and a single yellow ticket in his breast pocket. Everything about the boy was clean and new; he had books given to him by his mother, a gift wrapped in a white cloth with a pink bow that his friends made him swear not to open until he reached his dorm, and a briefcase that had all of the clothes he would be taking with him. He sat upright watching for the train to come with Buck’s head draped over his left knee but his father with a look of guilt slumped over.
His father thought. He thought about his own experiences at this age; his parents didn’t have enough money to send him to college, and it had been his dream to see a world beyond Texas. Armed with his best friend who like him was fresh out of high school, he enlisted in the army and was sent to fight in France but he had quickly found out that this was not the world he had wanted to see. It was in these trenches that alongside his best friend all hell broke lose. Machinegun fire peppered the trenches and tore up the dirt, clouds of red mist puffed into the air with each hit. Within three nights, the fighting stopped, but so did the heart of one brave boy from Paris, Texas. His pale face and cold eyes forever etched into the old man’s memory. The war had changed him for neither better nor worse. He had become quieter, he seldom smiled, a man of few words, but when he spoke his words were always carefully thought out, and he did not know what to say now. Nothing had prepared him for the day his son, his partner, would leave the farm and go off on his own to find a path.
He looked at his watch; it had slipped out of his pocket when he had leaned onto his arm to think and now it carelessly dangled by its chain. Six fifty five. Five minutes, I have to do this now.
“John?” he piped.
“Yes dad?”
“Might I see that fine hat of yours?” Obediently John passed the hat to his father.

“Certainly is new, much better than my rugged ol’ Stetson…wouldn’t you say?”

“Guess so pop.”

“It’s opportunities like these that make this country great John. You might think all those countries share their wealth, but it’s actually reserved for the people in charge. You have the opportunity to wear this hat, and go to college, especially in times of hardship”

Six-fifty seven.

“It’s no secret I never went to college but-”
Before he could continue the train came roaring down the tracks. It was too late. He had missed his chance. Tears came to his eyes. He hadn’t cried since the war.

“John,” he quivered. “I can’t give you anything that you don’t already have, but know this; I love you son.” His lips broke into a small smile, and he put out his hand. John shook it and was pulled into a hug.

“Take care of yourself boy, visit often. You know how your mother gets.”

“I will dad, I love you too.”
He reluctantly gave the hat back, wanting to keep a part of John home, but the train came to a complete halt and John turned around with all of his belongings and went for the train. He took the first step slowly; he turned his head for a last look at his father. The sun gave John’s hair a crimson luster; he looked like a lit match, bright and vibrant. He climbed the rest of the stairs, gave the conductor his ticket and found a seat in a car close to the exit. Inside it was petit a girl with gossamer blonde hair who looked rather thrilled to have company. They started talking. Everything’s going to be alright. He thought as he waved to John, with a few tears rolling down his face. Buck took a step forward, but stopped in his tracks and let out a howl of sorrow.

“He’s gone Buck; our boy is gone off to start his life.” Everything had come out, all of his pain, suffering, and guilt. All of the emotions that had weighed him down since the war had left him through those tears, Jonathan Cornwall, the bravest boy the old man had ever known, would live on through John as if he had never died in the French trenches of the Great War.





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This article has 4 comments. Post your own now!

rowrow2011 said...
Apr. 7, 2012 at 10:23 pm
I really think this has potential.  I really liked it, and it was really detailed for the length it was.  I thought it was really well written! Good job! 
 
Becca17 said...
Apr. 7, 2012 at 9:53 am
Great story, love the message of bonds, growing up, and overall very emotional. Loved it :)
 
TIMMY-the-MERMAID said...
Apr. 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm
If I could... I would rate it 10 stars! It's going to my favorites for sure. I absolutely, without question, love this!
 
SilverSun said...
Apr. 6, 2012 at 11:35 am
OMG I cried. I really did. This is SO beuatiful. This is So well done. I love the use of time and the train coming and the name ansd everything. You captured awesomeness. This is stunning!
 
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