In a vacuum.

Art by: Jon Marchione

It rattles, rattles, rattles…

The train dives head-on into the scenery, currently flanked by yellowed, crackly bushes. All of us are locked safely, almost hermetically in this moment in time. We are suspended in the infinity of those few minutes, a sort of solemnity not even broken by the stops few and far between, the beeping, the sliding open of doors, the driver’s staticky voice on the intercom announcing the station and closing of doors.

Nothing takes away or interrupts my longing gaze into the faraway, the zooming past cities and villages, cutting through congested arteries, sugarcane fields and mountains alike.

The train’s ‘new’ pathway slices through and lays bare even the most intimate details of the city outskirts: holey shirts and dingy shorts hanging on the line, someone’s dog looking all but melted into an early afternoon nap and the piercing gazes of people-watching grandmas now hourly exposed to the eyes of thousands ā€” all of this private life, previously hidden away has now been bared, and has become a part of the spectacle the train offers. And I, I was brought here as a spectator, not an actor. These days, everything I do feels wrong. Tough decisions with tough consequences that leave me feeling not at all like myself. I was brought here not to be, not to change or disturb the littlest thing. I was brought here to see and feel and maybe, maybe write about it.

The train should go on forever. It should cross into the night, rattling on its way to unknown galaxies, to stories I was told as a child, to blurry memories of childhood beach days. The train should go on forever, with me on it, a traveller, a spectator. Someone who does not influence the story but only records it. A record-writer, quiet, unassuming, existing outside of the rules that the rest of the actors are subjected to.

Let me hold onto life a little lighter. Let me have these moments forever.


Listening to:

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