dream train

She had been on the train for a very long time, lulled by the steady pace of the journey.  Her body was cramped from the lengthy stretch of inactivity, though her mind was far from dormant and her dreams remained vivid.

Finally, the train was slowing and coming to a station. And there he was, waiting for her on the train platform.

Even from afar, through the crackled dusty window of the train, she recognized the shape of him. She knew this was her stop. She rose to exit the train and walked down the aisle toward the door, but she only found endless rows of seats.

Puzzled, she kept walking, a little faster now, in search of the train doors. The train came to a full stop at the station.  And there he was, waiting for her on the platform. But she still could not find the way out of the train, the way to the platform.

She ran down the aisle searching for a door and through each flickering window pane she passed, she could see him waiting and waiting on that platform. She could see other people getting off the train from some invisible place, and he was looking for her among all the other passengers spilling out from the train. And even as the platform emptied, he waited.

She still could not find any exit from the train, but she did not give up, even as the train began to lurch forward. And then she realized: there was no door for her. He waited for her on the platform for just a bit longer.  He was still looking up and down the long empty platform for her.

She threw herself at an empty seat and started to scream to get his attention. She willed him to see her. She pounded on the windows of the train. He did not hear her.  He did not see her.  She threw her body against the thick plexiglas panels of the train and yelled.  She cried and hit and kicked. This was her stop. She knew it was her stop. And yet, for reasons she did not understand, there was no door for her.

The train pulled away from the station.  He tucked his head in disappointment and walked away.

He had been waiting for her on the platform.  And she did not come.

She slid down into the seat, sobbing and clutching at her heart, and the train carried her forward.

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