The Morning Train This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

   Forme, there are very few hours so blissful as those spent on the morning train.Sounds are different when heard on the eleven o'clock Boston to New Haven line.Footfalls are sharper, laughter is a layered explosion, and every spoken word isshaped by the sound of the train itself, a low continuous murmur, like a child'swhisper or the airy undertones of a flute. I sit alone, a quiet girl peering atthe colorful, orderly rows of strangers over the edge of her glasses, blanketedin the warmth of the voices and the faces. Alone, but never lonely.

Thefirst train ride was the best. There was the heady exhilaration of entering thetrain by myself, bulky duffel bag slung over one shoulder, clutching a tickettight in my hand.

At 12, I saw this ride as a perilous undertaking, alofty responsibility, a coming-of-age ritual whose significance could not beunderestimated. Although this wasn't my first time traveling alone, thenumberless stops seemed, in my mind, to imply a certain level of maturity on thepart of the traveler. If one were not careful, how easy it would be to fallasleep and wake up stranded at the end of the line, that singular hell of NewportNews, Virginia.

During the ride home I read, trying to appreciate thestrange pseudo-silence created by the multitude of voices. Yet more often, Ifound myself listening to the voices themselves. There were so many: the banalcell phone inquiries of briefcase-wielding professionals, college studentschatting enthusiastically over mugs of steaming coffee, an Indian woman in awhite silk sari murmuring to her little boy in American clothing playing idlywith a Power Rangers action figure. Each had a history, a subtle beauty, a reasonfor being on this train. I wondered how they saw me, a young girl in a blackjacket poring over a thick paperback - not the detective series or horse books12-year-olds usually read, but J.R.R. Tolkien's The Silmarillion, an epic talefull of Elves and Orcs, fairytale romances and fiery battles, triumph andtragedy. Suddenly remembered how, earlier in the week, my friend's father hadreacted to my choice of reading material, a surly look of distaste wrinkling hisface: "Tolkien. I read him a few years back. Never much cared for him.Strange fellow." I pressed the book up to my lips and slowly, secretly,smiled.

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This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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Anh_Tho said...
Nov. 29, 2009 at 5:02 am
People look at me funny when they see me read the Silmarillion too. None of my friends have ever tried to read that thick of a book.
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