Sunday, January 25, 2009

Brother-love, the Train Ride & Strangers

An empty checking account and a crisp one hundred dollar bill in my Levi's.
She drove me to the gravel lot in the woods by the tracks.
I wondered out loud 'Is this right? Is this where I am supposed to be?'
"I'm telling you....This IS the station."
'It's weird. No-one is here. There's not even a building...hahahaha, the lot isn't even paved. Hell, there's not even a light out here.'
"Welp, there's the moon.'
So we played eye-spy man-in-the-moon until dark-forty-five, when a barreling train suddenly came to a standstill in the middle of the woods.... for me.
It was dark and quiet and an usher escorted me to my dank little seat, where I remained for maybe five minutes.
I tugged my backpack over my shoulders and cruised the ill-lit cars until I came into the club car. It was nearly empty so I just scooched into a four-top that had chairs on 3 sides and a car-long bench on the fourth side. I lit a cigarette and pulled out my book, but found myself shaking one foot and staring into the smear of darkness out the windows.
I put the book up and went to the lonely tender of the club car where I got myself a can of Budweiser...two bucks plus a dollar tip. Three bucks would hopefully serve as a sedative for me.
Then, I slid out a frayed deck of cards....tttttthhhhhhhumpppppp.
A solitaire game taught to me by my mother as a kid.
A pyramind of hearts and diamonds, batons and spades.
"One is the lonliest number that you'll ever do"
'Excuse me, do you mind if I play cards with you?'
'Um, sure!'
'Great! Next beer is on me!'
'Hey! That sound great!'
We began with a simple and silly game of Go Fish and two cold beers.
"So, tell me your story..."
"Two can be as bad as one It's the loneliest number since the number one"
Before long, another transient asked if we would mind if he joined in and my original partner was quick to respond 'No'll cost you one round of beer and you will have to tell us your story'
So now there were three of us, three cold beers, and we moved onto the game of BlackJack.
"Three is a magic number...The past, the present, the future...Faith, and hope, and charity ... The heart, the brain, the body... Ya it is, its a magic number"
Oh, but it didn't take long for our table to swell and with each additional soul came one round of cold beers and a fresh round of 'Tell me your story.'
After the club car quit serving, the attendant said he left one door open and he pointed to a small fridge with hooks and a swiveled padlock, unlocked. I smiled. 'Now, just don't get caught back here, okay?'
Behind that small door was six cold beers, a bowl of creamer, a single packet of coffee.
We made that last six pack last as long as we could and somebody asked for the story of me about the same time we broke into the java.
Yeah, I was drunk and silly by then. I was all mushy.
"I am loaded, I have the love of my life and I am still totally free..."
"What do you do?"
"I live. I laugh, I learn and I love..."
"Wait a minute...your'e loaded? What do you do for money? Does your old man have money?"
"Hahaha, no....I'm loaded, as in I am drunk but I have discovered I love you guys, all of you... so different, so special, so gifted in your own ways, and right here, right now you are the love of my life. I'm free to say that, to feel that way, right?"
"Yeah" "So True" "Wow, I feel the same way" "Damn, you got a point"

At about a quarter to five in the morning, the train came to a standstill at my destination... I hugged the fireman from NY and the cop from Tampa, the comedian from Atlanta, the accountant from Boca and the transvestite from Miami...and well, anyone else who wanted to hug.
My brother stood waiting in well-lit landing.
I greeted him with a big ole hug and he laughed, as the guys back on the train were all hollering out to me...
"What's that all about?"
"Hmmm...I think its all about the love."
"Yeah, well, strangers and the love"
"Are you drunk?!"
It took us about thirty minutes to get back to his place and he told me how he would blaze on to work and I could sleep all day, but he would be home by four.
He pulled his truck into a space facing the tennis courts. At the courts, I saw two guys playing tennis in the rising sun.
Getting out of the truck, I raised my arm and waved "Good Morning Strangers!"
"Good Morning" echoed right back to me.
Brother-love went into work & I brewed more coffee, breaking out my Crayola markers.

At about ten am, there was a knock at the door.
It was the two strangers playing tennis at daybreak...
They were headed to the shoals at the river...
They are only strangers until you get to know them...

Five days of planned vacation with my brother turned into five and a half weeks with brother-love and an ever-expansive circle of friends, strangers and loves...


Dee said...

Intriguing! :)

skinnylittlesister said...

DeeBug...One of the most peaceful, enjoyable, comfortable, loving, exciting and magical experiences of my life began on that train. The people I met, places I went, things I did during that 5 week period were something to behold, enjoy and finally let go of. Words can't really wrap around ow awesome it was.

Mel said...

Totally and utterly envious about that trainride--and the love.

But I do know the difference an invitation and a telling of your own story can make.

Thanks for me pieces of yours. :-)

The CEO said...

You are really instructive on the best way to live, more than how to take a vacation. Thank you for that!

Shimmerrings said...

How beautiful! How beautiful!

Wreggie said...

And you thought you were going to be bored.

karma lennon said...

I love this story!! And the reminder of how your always where you're supposed to be at any given time and that life and love are what you make of it. :)

skinnylittlesister said...

((Mel)) My grandfather sooooo wanted me to go on a train ride. He said it was passe and that it was a ride of a lifetime. Lol, little did he know how right he was! That ride had a direct and not-so-direct impact on many lives. It was wonderful.

CEO...Lol, yes that turned into the longest vacation I had ever had. Lol, I came home and had to get another job...but hey, life is for living!

Shimmerings...Beautiful and some...

Wreggie...I will, one day, have to post about some of the adventures I had during this time, but suffice it to say, I was not bored ;)

karma...the good thing about this particular time was that it was all good times & I was lucky enough to be aware that it was 'good times' ... as opposed to looking back and realizing it. :) Knowing it wouldn't last & that these moments were good, I was able to really soak them up for all they were worth... it was great. I can tell you would be tickled by some of the tales... P&L