The 315 - LetterPile - Writing and Literature
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The 315


A Destiny Changed

The 315

(Photo by Michael Moore used with permission)

Standing on the platform, the sounds of the busy train station clouded my mind. Longing for the peace I once had, my heart ached.

Reeling from grief, my soul dying daily, I continue to be haunted by the memories of my late wife. My heart, still a prisoner of her love, I just want to die. Alive, I torture myself with answers to questions of how I could have saved her. Or what path I could have taken to stop the chain of events, ... or what could have done that would have made a difference.

Why didn’t I just stay with her that day! ... Why?

Dead, ... oh how I hate that word. How shameful it is to place on my beautiful wife’s body. I can no longer touch her, or hear her, taste her lips. I cannot feel her body lying next to me at night. I cannot let go of the fact that she’s not here; that she really is gone, dead! And now, I am alone.

Had I been with her, she would not have died.

But I was not allowed to help her. Protecting her was my most sacred honor and my most cherished role. Haunted by my failure grief sickens me to the core of my being.

She was the centerpiece of who we were, ... of who I was. She lit up my life like the sun. And to those who knew her, and all those who met her, she was the sweetness of friendship.

With tears welling-up in my eyes, my countenance fallen, I again became possessed by a sense of both bitterness and rage. I made no pretensions of who I was angry at! I let any who dared know who was to be blamed. God was the one! He was the One that controls the charade of our lives and choices. We are not the ones who choose our destiny. God is the singular force behind our death. He is the one to blame! He is the reason for my rage.

Through the tears, I looked down at my ticket and try to read the time of departure. I thought it read, 9:00am. My ticket was issued for the No. 444, which had arrived earlier that morning and was under maintenance.

The Engineer was a hard looking man of mature age and able size. For a man of his age, he was brawny and stern in approach. Aided by the station workers, they went about their tasks eagerly, like ants moving food, but delivered in a gruff and determined manner, driven by the lashing eyes of the hard Engineer.

Passengers bustled about excited they were getting on their train, and yet, I was not. My legs felt frozen and stiff with intent. The 444 was headed for Santa Fe and I needed to be on it. It was as if there was a silent voice beckoning me not to get on that train. A voice stifling my intentions and keeping me from moving my legs.

Doubt had entered into my mind. And now, I wasn’t sure whether I was doing right thing or not. Going to Santa Fe, and taking the livery company to court for their petty greed seemed to be the perfect place to aim my anger. It was their carriage that failed because they used it past its safe practice.

“Someone had to pay!” ... “Right!!!”

And while my rage was true, somehow my words fell to the floor, hollow and empty of the truth I pretended. Yet it was this rage that fueled my anger and to seek revenge for someone to pay for that word, ... DEAD. I did not want the truth, I wanted revenge. I can still see her lifeless face as she lied dead in her coffin. ..... Death has a way of changing your face. It didn’t even look like her. O the bitter outrage of it all. What a terrible realization about love and life.

So why did I now feel this confusion, paralyzed to follow my own will?

And then, a feeling of calm swept over me and I began to hear hear the faint and haunting voice of my wife saying to me, “Honey, let it go. .... It was God Who wanted me”. Trapped by my own faith I wanted to scream in rage. Trying to calm my soul, I hear her gripping my will in my head with enchanting peace I had once knew so well, “Don’t let this hate separate us Forever! ... Let it go my love. Please ... Let us be together again.”

I knew she wouldn’t have wanted me to seek revenge on the destiny God had chosen for her. But why? What did I do to deserve this? Why couldn’t He have taken us both.

Victoria was a beautiful woman, both inside and out. With her heart she could draw out the sun on a rainy day, and with her beauty, she could call out a rainbow from the stormy skies. Her gentle manner and elegance possessed your attention, and with her smile and words, she showered the room with the rains of kindness.

No! She would have forgiven them, as she knew she had been forgiven by God. Not begrudging them that same mercy she had received from her Lord, for she was a gentle and forgiving woman of faith.

As I thought of Victoria, I stood paralyzed on the platform. It was 9:00am and the Conductor pulled out his pocket watch, a plain and common watch, as was the Conductor, a plain and common man. Tattered and worn clothes that had seen a thousand stations, the Conducto, standing erect and purposeful, reads the time. Snapping it closed in an abrupt manner, he yells out, “All aboard! All aboard!”

At that moment, I began to sense my own strength of intention failing. Taking on the livery company to bring some justice was right. They let danger loose on their patrons for the greed of a few dollars of time and parts. And my own Victoria was asked to pay the bill for their greed. And yet, something more virtuous seemed to be at work, something more than justice and I didn’t understand.

Unaware that I had been denying something deeper inside, I tried to get on thet train, but I was rigid and legs stiff. My will compromised, and now, I was unable to convince myself to move and follow after the unrelenting mantra of JUSTICE that my heart had been demanding for weeks. Frozen in my shoes, I couldn’t move. My will too weak to get onto the train. Seized up, I stood paralyzed on the train station platfor, as if a statut. by something deeper than my rage.

Strangely, looking up there was a sign above the station ticket office. It was an ad for a new train that was to be added to the schedule. It read as if to tease one off their horse and onto the very next train, ...

“Your Dreams Await you on the Ol’ 315!”

With sweat running down my face, I could hear the whistle blow, and the conductor yell out, “All Aboard!" Suddenly, I felt something come over me making me nervous. Not knowing what to do, I started to panic.

"Damn!", I bursted out!

The Conductor carefully placed his watch back into his vest and turned back to the train. The whistle blew one last time, with a blast that stood the hair up on the back of my neck. The Conductor climbed up onto the train rail, half hanging off. The train slowly began chugging out from the station, and with that the Conductor yells one last call, “All aboard,” as he swung himself onto the stage of the rear of the caboose.

As the train starts to gain speed and distance, I relent my intention to get on the 444, and my rigid body relaxes and my arms fall to my side. Confused and angry at myself for this sudden indecision, I begin to walk over to the Ticket Office, when suddenly I am rudely intercepted by another Conductor.

Shocked by this pristinely dressed man in a new sharp looking black suit, starched and pressed, with a white blouse, and topped with a stout cap, lined in gold trim, I realized that he was another Conductor and he asked me with a calm and expecting demeanor, “Tickets?”

“Yes! ... No! Wait!” ... quickly I asked, “Do you know whens the next train leaving for Santa Fe? I just missed the 444!”

Responding to me, the Conductor said, “Soon.”

And while I thought this was an odd response, I had a unusual feeling about this Conductor. With that, the sound of a train could be heard approaching, and the Conductor looked at me, as if to say, follow me, he then turned to the approaching Train and walked toward the sound of its blasting whistle.

Just as the Train came into view, I could see it coming to a creeping halt. There was an unusual patina covering the body of the train. Up front, there was a declarative emblem clearly plated, 315. The Conductor smiled and said, I think you will find it will take you where you need to go!”

Confused again, I still felt I could trust him. Yet, not without an eerie feeling of lost control. I asked the Conductor, “Do I need another ticket?”

Again the Conductor smiled and said, “No. You can use your 444 ticket. Here. Let me punch it before you change your mind. You will find that the Ol’s 315 will be a God-Send. It will be leaving in a few minutes.”

His response was so odd, but I was compelled to accept this arrangement. With almost a drunk disregard, I sat down on a nearby bench and rested for a moment.

“Whewwww! Whewwwww! Whew! Blew the train whistle, blasting me out of my stupor!

Jumping up I saw the 315 armed and the Conductor waiting for me. I was newly energized by the small rest I had and the feeling of a new destiny. As I approached the 315, it seemed funny that no one else cared about this strangely tarnished Train. People walking by as if it wasn’t even there.

Handing the ticket to the Conductor, with his strange smile, he said, “You already had your ticket punched. We have been expecting you.”

Walking toward the train, I got in with my small luggage, for I was going to be Santa Fe only overnight. Unsure, I thought of how strange and confusing this whole thing was. Almost surreal. What did he mean, “... expecting me?” As I looked out the window, people were walking by without even looking at the train. A lady and her child walked right by and her little boy didn’t even look in, which struck me odd for an little boy.

Then as the 315 broke away, slamming me into a seat, I became frightfully aware that I was the only one in the train. Quickly, I looked around for the Conductor, but he had vanished. And suddenly my heart dropped, .... my face fell flush and my mind fainted as I saw in the reflection of the train window, my own Victoria walking by in the very aisle I sat in, but only in the reflection, as she passed by she glanced at me with those eyes. Eyes that I had come to know that spoke the invisible word of love. Smiling she, disappeared into the next car as quickly as she glided by me. Jumping up, I wanted to chase her, or this vapor that was my wife, but she was gone.

What was going on?!

In a panic, I pull out my train schedule and look for the 315! ... but there was no 315 on the schedule. .....

(To Be Continued)

The 315

The 315

© 2017 Silva