Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Holiday train

They meet in the same train car every morning for a quick debate, and every afternoon for a beer and a cackle. Three men, two women. Today they are exchanging gifts. A toy version of the mustang he always wanted but kids are in college so there's no cash for that; a little tree ornament that is also a shot glass. A t-shirt, a notepad with ironic messages at the top, a hat.

"we're going to breakfast, right? Oh please tell me we're still going to breakfast!" there is an overlap of voices, gravelly with twenty years of commuting and having quit smoking together. Odd memories of the interstitial parts of life. How so-and-so got their name: odd story, let me tell you. "she doesn't NEED a man..she's 82 years old!" She had the best. She had my father! Why does she want more?

Let me tell you.

They will never meet each other's families - may have not shared cell numbers. But they KNOW each others' families. Love and misunderstanding, like group therapy but without the pathetic veil of "safety." someone might get hurt. Opinions sting. But not for more than the time spanning two train rides.

These relationships would have worked just as well 100 years ago. Would that all relationships be as reliable as trains. It's painful not knowing until the next day - "hey what happened to you yesterday?" Daughter in the emergency room. Traffic was Terrible - accident on the beltway. I just had a hard time getting moving this morning. They worry, but in that perfunctory way you worry about acquaintances. Maybe a little more. Enough to buy gifts. Enough to have breakfast and share stories, and do a great deal of speculating on the controversies that don't survive past the train ride. Look over the year, brag about bonuses and kids.

I am envious-

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Location:MARC 419

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