To Wish Upon a Rail


(DJ Cockburn [CC / Flickr])

They huddle into coats and scarfs and contemplate the empty rails.

“We should have taken the bus,” says a woman. “I told you we should have taken the bus.”

“Don’t worry,” says the man sitting next to her. “It’ll be here in a minute.”

He looks up, imploring the orange dots spelling out the word ‘delayed’ to rearrange themselves and make his words into the truth.

A woman walks away from them, frustrated enough by the absence of train without adding someone else’s annoyance to her own. She pulls a phone out of her coat pocket, taps the screen and holds it to her ear.

“Yeah, it’s me. Still waiting for the train. I dunno what the excuse is this time. Probably too cold or wrong snow or immigrants or Brexit or -” She applies the brakes with a deep breath. “Sorry, I’ve just had it up to here with this. Look, I’m gonna be late. I don’t know how long. Maybe an hour? Hang on, the train’s coming…”

Heads turn up the line. Eyes beg the train for a sign of slowing down.

The unseen driver is indifferent to a platform of wishes.

“Oh no,” says the woman to her phone. “It’s not going to stop.”

The rest of her words are lost in the thunder of machinery unhampered by cold or snow or immigrants or Brexit. It speeds into the distance, having replaced wishes with wistfulness.

“If we’d taken the bus, we’d be half way there by now,” says the woman on the bench.

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Posted in Saturday Hooptedoodle

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