To be honest with you, I am not sure how many people know this little factoid about me. I’d be shocked if anyone at all knew this, as I’m not sure I’ve ever vocalized it before… but I love the train station. Its hustle, its bustle, people going here, people going there, people everywhere.
I’m not usually a crowd person. But for whatever reason, I like trains. I think they’re romantic in a vintage-sort of way. Back in times where women wore hats and knee-length skirts paired with heels and crimson-painted lips. Men wore fedoras and suits and carried gold pocket watches on chains and smoked cigarettes. Back when a woman could gaze up at a man with doe-eyes, lips slightly parted, not fearing to let him see her vulnerable… And the man knew he could pull her in, his hand on the small of her back and stare down at her, confident, bold enough to remove his hat and press his lips to hers gently before parting. The ebony locomotive, steam billowing from its chimney, a deep whistle echoing in the background…
Of course, it’s not like that anymore. Modernization and efficiency took precedence over nostalgia. Men changed, women changed. You don’t see lovers part at the railroad crossing. Some people are zombies, carrying their overpriced lattes and expensive briefcases, too self-absorbed to notice anyone in their path; some are looking for something more, so obvious in their suffering–head down, shoulders hunched, eyes downcast.
And as much as I am enthralled at watching the herds of sheep flock to their respective train car, I prefer the train station at night in its solidarity. There have been more than a few Saturday nights over the past 16 years I have spent on my own at the outdoor, uncovered platform of the train station in the sleepy Lilac Village. My hair has never been coiffed with perfect curls like the women of old, and I despise the waxy, drying feel of lipstick on my mouth, but I am wearing a simple knee-length skirt. Only I’ve got on navy Chucks and I’m wearing a black beanie. The night air is chilly and the cold white light overhead is stark and omniscient. My Green Day hoodie keeps the goosebumps at bay. A cup of cheap, bland coffee and a pack of cigarettes from the 7/11 down the street keep me occupied as I sit on the pavement, back against the gate, notebook and pen perched on my lap. Furiously my hand moves over the page in an untidy scrawl as I write damning scrips to love. For years I thought I was so painfully alone in this practice, until Billie Joe Armstrong’s side project, Pinhead Gunpowder, released the album Goodbye Ellston Avenue and I heard the song “Train Station” for the first time.
And I took some comfort in that.
I may not look like the women I imagine of the past, but as we all know… looks are deceiving and unessential, after all. He doesn’t have to be wearing a suit and tie and a fedora. He could be in jeans and a shirt, but the knowing look… the self-assuredness would not have changed. The ability to find me, walk over, stand above me as I sit, engaged in my unspoken words and flowing ink on a page… I could look up, eyes wide, mouth slightly agape at the acknowledgement of his presence… to look, but not speak. An extended hand to pull me up, pull me in, and embrace.
Topic courtesy of The Daily Prompt.