Everyday I ride the train to work. It’s a long ride so I find myself watching the landscape as I rumble along. We pull into station after station to pick up and release different passengers on their way to their next stop. On, off, on, off, on, off, it goes.
One comes accustomed to the faces, some you remember, some you only think you remember. You learn to memorize their patterns. Like this one lady always wears a bright yellow dress on Mondays with her hair pulled back. And another fellow starts his weeks with a dark blue suit, coffee in hand, briefcase in the other. Never takes a sip, I always thought he needed a hat. Brown, like in the 50’s you know. Wouldn’t match his shoes though, he’s a black belt, black shoes guy, everyday. Then there’s Suzy, I call her Suzy anyways. She never wears the same thing twice, at least at the same time. She dresses, very fun I might say. Very wild and colorful, different, hip perhaps.
But there’s this one guy. I didn’t notice him at first. But now I can’t imagine a day without seeing him. He never gets on the train, But he’s always there, even on the way back home, out of the city. Everyday. He just stands there, looking out into the distance. It’s not the clothes he wears that I remember, It’s the expression on his face. A look of solace and despair, of hope and loneliness, a look of love and regret.
It’s this expression on his face, it haunts me at night. It provokes stories and questions and thoughts of my own. What is he thinking, is he thinking. It’s been over four years now, and there he is still. Still like a tree, like a great oak standing atop a mountain. Alone, looking out over the land with that same glaze, for a hundreds years.
See, he’s not on the train, he’s on the platform. Waiting, waiting for someone, someone to come home. Someone he’ll never give up on. He’ll be on that platform tomorrow, he’ll be there the day after that. And in a year, he’ll still be there. In two, in three, in four and five. Even after I stop riding that train after twenty years or so. After I’m done and gone, and long long after that, he’ll still be there. Waiting, waiting on that platform.