The Departure Part 1

Street corner
Street corner

I just wanted enough to be on my way.  The sky was just clearing and most of us were all wet in one way or another.  The people passing by all wore their long faces.  Their square jawlines, sullen eyes and sunken cheekbones. It all spoke of some harshness that would not be mentioned out loud.

The birds in the sky all flew in circles.  I thought that was odd not because of their flight pattern but because of the feeling they gave me.  They seemed to fly together because they were afraid and uncertain.

The hooker on the corner, supposedly living the good life, did not have a smile.  Her bright red lipstick somehow seemed pale, even her feather fur-fru looked rather drab and gray.  She had her hand on her hip but despite her attitude of fronting, it was apparent she too suffered from the same moody virus that was in the air.

The homeless man behind her was not begging for charity but he was on the floor nonetheless.  He seemed sad but not depressed.  Whatever he was feeling or why he was feeling it was hiding under the darkness of his worn and dirty overcoat.

I walked down.  The smell was more nefarious the deeper into the ground I got.  It was a familiar odor.  I grabbed onto the banister because the steps were wet and I didn’t want to slip and fall.  The banister was wet too but unlike the puddles the substance seemed more gooey in texture causing me to frown with a mixture of disgust and uncertainty.

I walked towards the bathroom to try and wash my hands but even from the door I could hear the banging, so I paused.  It sounded was like a distress signal. Morse code.  There was silence, bang, bang then silence again, bang, bang bang.  Then the pattern would repeat itself again.  After a few minutes of hesitation I went in.

There was a man of a husky built that looked as if he had lost a hundred pounds overnight.  The skin on his cheeks and arms hung like curtains and denoted a certain translucent effect, like a sheet of paper held to the sun. He stared intently at himself in the mirror, and after maybe a minute maybe more, he banged his head against the mirror and stopped.  He was doing this over and over without breaking the mirror.  Perhaps it would be more accurate to state the mirror was shatterproof.  I tried not to look at him or interrupt him in any way and I slipped out quietly after cleaning my hands.

Outside of the bathrooms were a bunch of people with luggage waiting at the terminal. They appeared to be pacing in a circular pattern or bouncing in slow motion from side to side in an impatient demeanor, perhaps maybe it was just to kill time.

There was a man sitting on the floor rocking back and forth with his head in his hands.  He had five pieces of luggage around him.

“There is no time,” he said to himself in a low tone.

“What do you mean there is no time?” I asked.

“Were waiting, were always waiting but it’s like there is no time, no time at all to be waiting around.”

“What do you mean?”

“We go back and re-do it again and again.”

Waiting by the train
Waiting by the train

At that moment a train arrived and all the people that were waiting wanted to get on but only some could actually board the others simply could not move forward to get on and kept dancing around in their holding pattern.  When the train closed its doors a bright light emanated from the windows and then it moved as if at the speed of light and shot away onto its destination.

“Do you know where they are going?” I asked again to the man with the baggage.

“I don’t know.  I just know it is not my time to go.”

“Do you know why you are here?”

“No, I… I don’t know,” he said shaking his head.  “I… I can’t remember. Do you?”  This time he gave me a blank look but the wrinkles on his face spoke of an unmentionable past.

“No.”

There was a small pause between us.

“What’s with all the baggage? Are you going far?” I decided to try a new approach and see if I would get a different answer.

“I don’t want it. Do you want it?”

“I think I have enough baggage of my own but thanks,” I said.

Never accept baggage from anybody, there is no telling what’s inside, I thought to myself.

“How do you know when it is time to go?” I asked.

“You just do.  You came down here on your own didn’t you?”

“I did.”

“Well, that’s how you know.”

“So it’s my time?”

“Wait for the light to call you when the train arrives.  Don’t be afraid just go.”

“How do you know this?”

“Because the light called me and I was too afraid to go,” he said.

“You mean you missed the train?”

“No, I didn’t get on. I messed up.”

“What happens when you don’t get on?”

“Somebody else takes your place or something that wasn’t suppose to happen happens and then you have to wait for another opportunity and it may never come around again.”

“How long have you been waiting?”

“I don’t know.”

The man sighed.  He felt bleak and weary to me aside from his other disturbances. Then another train came and for the first time I saw the man smile or anybody else for that matter.  He got up grabbed his luggage and walked on board the train

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