The attendant glances at the seat check, “about 15 minutes, you’ll be getting off in the front of the car”. “Do you need help with your luggage?”
You wave him off and wait a few minutes then take your suitcase down from the rack and walk past sleeping passengers and the early risers watching the sunrise.
In the vestibule you set your suitcase down and look out through the door window at fields and roads and houses flashing by.
You’re still moving at speed but you can feel a difference, you can feel the stop coming.
Past farms and roads and under bridges and then the rails split and then split again and again as you enter a yard.
The conductor steps into the vestibule with a “Good morning” and opens the Dutch door to a roar as you start to pass a string of standing freight cars.
The cars flash by in such a blur that it’s hard to tell that the train is slowing.
The freight cars come to an end and you look out at familiar sights.
The houses, stores and streets are all the same but somehow it always feels different.
The conductor waits for the stop, opens the bottom of the door, pops the floor latch and snaps the floor panel into its lock as the steps drop down. He wipes the hand rails, steps off and sets down the step box.
“Watch your step”. You step onto the platform much like a sailor walking onto dry land after a long journey.
Walking away you hear the conductor call, “All aboard” and turn back to see the train ready to leave. Ready to leave without you.
It’s good to be home, but still, don’t you wish…?”