Monday, November 22, 2010

Life is a Train Track

Life is a Train Track

I’ve come to the conclusion that life is a train track. There’s countless numbers of trains using it at any one stage, each occupied by different types of people and the track is infinite in length. Sometimes it can feel as though the scenery is the same for miles on end and sometimes you are almost certain that you are simply travelling around in circles. But you’re not. Even if it does look that way from time to time.

I got off the train a while back. In fact, there are two notable occasions in my life where I have got off the train. It’s not ideal, but as long as you make sure you stick by the side of the track, it’s ok to do that when you really need to just stop or slow down. Sometimes you just sit by the side of the track while the trains continue to go past at speed. Sometimes you get to your feet and begin walking. And you can almost guarantee that, at some point, someone will extend an arm out of a passing train and try to pull you in. Put if you’re not ready to get back on board, all that happens is you hurt their arm. Worse still, you end up pulling them off the train too. That’s why I’ve always found it best to push helping hands back inside windows.

“Don’t try to help me. I’ll only end up hurting you too.”

From time to time, people leave the tracks altogether – voluntarily. For most people, they hear about this more than witnessing it themselves. I suppose for those people the journey is just too tough. But for me, I never wanted to leave the journey. I just needed to take a break from it. So I crouched down for a while beside the passing trains and held my head in my hands. I could hear the trains but rarely opened my eyes to see them. 6 months, I spent like that.

I was 24. And already I was travel worn and weary. My sister was 21 and stayed on the train better than I did.

When I eventually found the strength to board a train again, I realised just how far it had travelled without me. The trains keep moving, even if you decide to get off for a while. And I vowed, after that, I wouldn’t get off again.

But I did.

Granted. I didn’t sit still by the tracks the second time. I had a young son to think of too and I suppose that prevented me from stopping altogether. But I slowed down and walked beside the train for a while.

Several people extended hands from windows but one hand was more notable than most. I tried to push it back inside the window and when it wouldn’t go I pushed back harder. It kept coming back and trying to pull me aboard again. The intentions were pure. Eventually I gripped but without the effort required to pull myself back aboard, I ended up pulling her from her own train.

Eventually we both got back abroad, albeit back aboard different trains. And now, whenever my own train passes someone on the side of the tracks, I recognise instantly what they’re doing there. You can tell almost immediately whether they want a hand and the sad fact of the matter is that unless they want one, they won’t accept yours.

I won’t be getting back off the train again. I’ve got all that I want on board my carriage and wherever we travel, we’ll travel together. The scenery won’t always be pretty, I’m sure and a hazard of train travel is the dark tunnels. But there’ll always be light at the end of them.

No comments: