Only God Knows Why


Kafka’s Metamorphosis
September 13, 2010, 8:26 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

I saw the most beautiful man at the train station the other day.  We were all trapped there, strangers brought together by a freezingly heartbreaking winters morning waiting for the train.  We waited and waited, the air pluming from our mouths like little white flags, waving our surrender to the day.  I don’t want to fight anymore, I just want the train to come,  we all thought at our shuffling, sleet covered boots.  I threw my head back and sighed at the grey sky, the loudest noise on the still platform.

A man’s regretful voice came over the loud-speaker, breaking our silent but shared reverie.  The kind of voice that makes my whole body tense up when it comes over the line in a late night hurried phone call.  You’re half awake, but you know everything is about to change.  All gravel and fear.   A horrible news voice. He told us that a man had committed suicide in front of our train and that they weren’t going to be running any services for some time.

I looked deep into this strangers beautiful, captivating eyes. 

He had this beautiful, burning huge anime eyes that shone out of his face like giant blue beacons.  I decided to forget that I too, have blue eyes.

I wanted to tell him a story about when we were kids.  I decided to forget that it was you that I wanted to be telling this story to, if I thought you were listening.  (You don’t have blue eyes)

I wanted to tell him about how one night, when I was young, my mother got angry with my father.  Not cold morning awful news train station angry; but sweet, safe, domestic, I know I can be angry with you because you’re not leaving me, kind of angry.  Dad said he would come home and take care of us, but instead took up a second shift working at the railways.  So to make it up to her, he took me and my older brother (3 and a half years my senior) to work with him.  (Not my eldest brother incidentally.  I always feel like I am conducting an English exercise when I am describing myself and my two brothers:  Old, older, eldest.)  I must have been about 4 or 5 at the time.

I wanted to tell his beautiful stranger (I wanted to tell this beautiful you) about how we were playing racing cars in the station house on the wheely chairs when Dad got a phone call.  A man had committed suicide by jumping in front of a train at a nearby railway station and, as the senior staff member, he had to attend. 

I wanted to tell him how Dad drove us there solemnly, the tyres of the car swishing the loudest noise as it navigated the curves of the dark road.  We had no idea what was going on, nobody had told us where we were going or why.  But we knew to sit there meekly, that something awful had happened, though not a single word had been exchanged.  I just sat there next to my brother (old, older, eldest), clutching some childhood soft-toy that constituted a best friend and felt childishly soft-toy sad.

I’d tell my ephemeral stranger about how we got to the station and Dad told us not to get out of the car.  And we didn’t.  I swear, we didn’t.   I’d tell him.  I’d deny it furiously so that he’d believe me, because it’s the truth.

 We knew, without knowing, what was going on.  We didn’t even WANT to get out of the car and see.  Dad told us to stay in the car, and we did!

  His manner told us there was something bad out there, and we believed him.  We sat there, in our safe cocoon, knowing that outside there was something awful that no one had named for us.  We might have played a little bit between us.   We sat there, we waited for him to come back, and we didn’t see anything.

I’d say to him (to you), “We didn’t get out of that motherfucking car.  Because he told us not to.  Do you understand?”   How easy it was to know how to protect ourselves from the outside world that night.  How hard it is now.

I’d tell him about how when me and my brother talk about that night, I always seem to have such a fantastic memory of it.  But, then, why when I think back to it, do I also simultaneously remember sitting in that car AND standing on the other side of the tracks, looking back at our car parked on the other side?

He’d say (you’ d say) “Is that why you’re so sad?”

And I’d think about it and say, “No, I don’t think so.”  And continue feeling sad on that winter’s platform nonetheless.

I am so fucking disgustingly sentimental.  Ugh.

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1 Comment so far
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Sad when someone does that… but I like your story.

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Comment by Kerry




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