by Fred Prout
You find yourself riding on a train. No ticket in hand. But that’s okay, because no one asks where you are going. Which is a good thing. Because you are not sure yourself. Periodically the train pulls into a station. People get off. Other people get on.
With some of the new people, you feel a connection. You have met them before. But you don’t recognize them. The connection is strong. You find it is mutual. They know you too. But they don’t know how. You talk and compare stories. You have been to some of the same places. And done similar things. At different times. Vastly different times.
The train slows down and stops. Another station. People exit. People board. Not a ticket in sight. You look out the window and see other trains. Different tracks. Similar destinations? Some of the new passengers see you and join your group. They replace those who exited at the station.
The train starts and is suddenly at full speed ahead. Out the window you see people in another train going the opposite direction. You briefly connect with some through two sets of windows. Who are they? How do you know them?
The new passengers join the group conversation as if were not interrupted. As if they were in mid sentence when the train stopped. You realize the train is a single car and you can see all the passengers. Most are in similar groups and don’t see you. Some sense the invisible waves of connection you emit. They join your group. Sort of.
You realize that they, like you, are in several groups at the same time. You don’t understand it. You don’t need to. They join in the conversation and you share your mutual histories. Some recent. Some long past. You know each other, but don’t really know how. Or why.
The train seems to speed up and go faster the longer you ride it. You wonder when the next station will appear. Who will exit? Who will board? When is your stop? What will be there? Another train? Going a different direction? You don’t remember buying a ticket. But somehow you have one. You MUST have one. Somehow you paid for it.
Suddenly the train slows. Another station coming up? You wonder if this is your stop.