I ride the rails. Every Monday through Friday, I make the trek into the city of Philadelphia. I love the platform, the smell of the brake dust and the rainbow of faces that decorate each stop, offering new flavors for the melting pot to digest.
For many commuters, the train offers respite from the chaotic completed workday or the final calm before the storm of daily office life. A casual glance around the train compartment could reveal any of the following: someone sleeping, talking, texting, applying makeup, eating, reading a book, or simply staring out the window. Indeed, I have done nearly all of these myself. For me, the sanctuary of the train often provides the opportunity to write. That’s right. In this collective, I often find the stillness where inspiration flows.
I ride the same rails as Amtrak Northeast Regional No. 188. Twenty-five days ago, it tragically derailed killing eight people and injuring hundreds more. With every lean, sway, or hard break, I’m reminded of the fate of those who lost their lives. May the Creator be with everyone involved, their families, and their loved ones. Life and Death are so random. We do not know how many days we have to walk this Earth and experience its wonders. When those I love leave this world, I often lament, saying, “His life was incomplete.” Or, “She was too young.”
As I contemplate my own temporal existence, the desire to create wells inside of me. Questions weigh heavy. How will my son really know me if I don’t find a way to show him? Will I leave behind anything that proves I once existed, that I mattered? I must create, write, and complete while I still have the chance to live. Maybe by doing so, I can open the door to my mind and my son will like what he finds on the other side. In the same way, perhaps in a small way, I can in turn bring honor to those who are no longer able to ride my beloved rails.
*Husky Harlequin is the author of the new time travel novel Time’s Alibi or The Quantum of Jazz Between the Sun and the Grave. It’s more than sci/fi; it’s a political statement. Grab a copy and have something to talk about at your next party.