• Vol. 09
  • Chapter 10
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Connections and The End of a Railway Line

I shuffled across my bedroom, heaved the window open and peered at the train roaring down the tracks. The sequence of lights flashed before me, dazzling. I wanted the stars, but night trains are accessible. I could bathe in the carriage's light, transported to another place. The train had an endpoint, but at every terminus, arrows indicated connections.

My house had lost connection. Sentences were void of conjunctions. Imperatives like old furniture, peeled leather sofas, and threadbare carpets filled the room.

Kosovo was dad's terminus. I kept his khaki backpack and his metal pendant with his name engraved in silver.

The lonely indigo horizon matched the unbearable stillness in my heart's chambers. I craved trains rolling down long, uninterrupted tracks. Metal against metal, screeching brakes, thunder.

I filled the backpack with photos of dad and me goofing around on brand-new leather sofas, biking along dirt roads, and story time. His mud-stained rugby jersey was a buffer between glass frames with wooden edges. Mum never bought me a suitcase. She was scared of losing me too, but I spotted dad's lawnmower near the rose bush. "The grass collection box. The perfect suitcase."

I tip-toed out of the house. Swung the umbrella-like clothesline for the last time. The backpack leant against my back like a weary traveller. My body slumped over the lawnmower's handlebars. I pushed it down the driveway. Hissing cats and the sound of an oncoming train merged in a heart-soothing symphony.


Connections and The End of a Railway Line

The carriage doors slid open. I parked the lawnmower at the entrance like a guard dog.

The carriage is mine. No passengers. No long white coats. No signs listing the stages of grief. No neighbours concerned about my dry skin,

but I couldn't escape the train's commands.

Hold On. Don't forget your bag. Don't get your fingers stuck in the automatic doors. Mind the gap.

No matter where I go, someone will always give orders.

Something strange happened on the way to nowhere. The pain travelled with me. Memories in hues of khaki flooded in like peak hour traffic. Roads choked with cars disguising breathable spaces, gardens, park benches, side walk flowering trees. Stop, but the train kept going. Everyone, everything else gave orders. Not me. I thought I left pain in between the crumpled sheets, in my pink smelly slippers with a unicorn print, on the flaky paint lining the window sill, on the other side of freedom.

The pain of loss is permanent. No metal, noisy journey will fix that. The journey starts from within. I wiped my wet face.

The train stopped. A woman carrying a suitcase stood on the platform. She stared at the lawnmower. Her eyebrows tagged her chestnut fringe. She hurried to another carriage. "Wait," I yelled and moved the lawnmower.

It's about time I let others walk into my space of blue.

At the terminus, I'll call my mum to pick me up. But in the meantime, I let the train's next-station announcements lullaby me to sleep.