The dome at night

Boarding a train en route is like moving into a new neighborhood, “you’re new aren’t you?”

You struggle with your luggage while the long-time residents seem to smile at your efforts to settle in.

Men’s room in the front of the car, two more coaches ahead and one behind.

Behind the car behind is the dining car.

When will dinner be served tonight?

They know but they’re not saying.

Ahead of the coaches is the dome, the car that makes your journey an adventure.

The coach gives you an address and the dining car feeds you but it’s the dome that lets you glide through your journey.

Angled seats let you view the scenery just like the people in the brochures.

The brochures with the men wearing suits and ties, ladies in dresses and jewelry and kids who look like corporate trainees.

Slide over to the window, that’s your spot as the day turns to twilight to night.

A blue sky darkens and the lights of the towns and automobiles flicker on as the rail and highway travelers race together toward the lighted outline of a town on the horizon.

The drivers strain to keep up with the train that looks straight ahead and doesn’t even know they exist.

The town grows close and the cars slow as the road swerves away but the train flies straight through as if the town was a cloud and disappears right before their eyes.

You look up and see the aisle lights reflect off the glass and stretch along its curves.

Sometimes it is difficult to tell the stars from the reflections.

Up ahead you see a green signal and another in the distance.

The signals race toward you and then flash to red as the engines pass leaving another green signal ahead and one beyond that.

Mile after mile the green signals pull you along with a green and another green and then at last a red signal telling you to stop.

You pull into the station and there on the platform are the new, new guys waiting to board.

Time to go back and recline and sleep

You can come back tomorrow morning but when you do it’s different.

The daylight tells you where you are and how long it will be until your arrival.

The signals pass by now but each passing almost taunts you, telling you that you’re one mile closer.

At the station you step out onto the platform and the train looks straight ahead.

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