I waited. I can’t describe how long I waited for because there seemed to be no day or night. What would normally be hours or minutes, just simply didn’t count, you could tell by the broken clock at the top of the train station. It stood still spaced out in incessant suspension.
I began to move back and forth like everybody else. Maybe this quasi-pacing was our way to mark the passage of time. I tried to think but all I had was this overwhelming feeling of regret that echoed inside. It was a feeling without a thought or a memory. I couldn’t understand it but it still punctured the heart and made the wait even harder.
A pigeon managed to make its way down here. It was not a gray pigeon it was stark white. Its feathers seemed more like fur, rather than plumage, making it look baby soft. On second thought, looking back at it, maybe it was dove. It walked on the asphalt floor so nonchalant, bobbing its head around in observation of us all. The pigeon bobbed and pecked to the rhythm of our pacing but unlike our sad and robotic feeling it had a more graceful and curious style to it. How it managed to move like that and flow to our rhythm was boggling. The pigeon moved closer to me, and the closer it got, I began to perceive a low iridescent glow emanating from its plumage. It was almost like a halo.
I began to feel some relief in my chest; an inner peace I had not had since I can remember.
“Have you chosen your mission yet?” asked a female voice. The voice was low and smooth like a jazz singer or a coffee with caramel. I looked around to find the woman who spoke but there was no woman to be seen. It was then that the pigeon looked at me intently in the eye and demurely looked away moments later.
I shook my head side to side questioning myself.
“You need to choose a mission, otherwise, you won’t be able to get on the train. You can’t move forward until you know what you are doing,” said the same voice speaking again.
“How am I suppose to know what to do when I can’t remember anything?” I said in a low tone trying to avoid looking silly by apparently talking to myself. The pigeon cocked its head and looked at me again.
“This isn’t a place of logic or reason. The more you try and reason the sillier you will feel. This is a place of feeling. If you had thoughts or memories of the past you would sit here and dwell on them forever; and here, that will feel more than infinite. You would never start anew. By not having any memories of the past you simply follow your latent being, so that you can see more clearly your patterns of behavior. All those things you do with out thinking because they come natural to you.’
“The woman on the street, the homeless man on the floor, the man in the bathroom, they all represent their most basic impulses, without a thought as to why. They sustain a cycle, a pattern and this prevents them from moving forward. Things are kept so basic here as to help invite recognition and the possibility of wanting to change what they’re doing because there is no reason as to why they should. There is no memory as to the why; so why continue? When they are ready, they will come.”
“Ready?” I asked quietly trying to piece things together, but she was right about feeling silly.
“When you get down here to this waiting station, you get tested one last time to see if you are ready. You will suffer from feelings of anxiety and fear. Those that conquer these feelings can move onto the train and leave, those that don’t are held in place by their own insecurity.”
“Where do we go when we get on the train?”
“You will go where you are meant to be.”
I nodded not really feeling satisfied by the answer, yet curious for more.
“The man that was here, he was ready?’
“He got on the train with his baggage didn’t he?”
I nodded to say yes. “I was surprised he took his baggage with him, even though he didn’t want it.”
“His mission was to resolve his baggage. Of course, this is a painful mission no one wants. He was ready; he just refused to move from the platform.”
“A mission?” I asked.
“You need to decide if you wish to choose an altruistic path or if you would rather work on something relating to yourself. There is no reason for life if you have no purpose.”
“I don’t feel I know enough to make a choice.”
“Uncertainty….” the pigeon shook its head. “Logic and reason have no place here. What does the feeling in your heart say?”
“This is a very odd test, and I am talking to a pigeon!” I said shaking my head from side to side.
“Your holiness is humble in representation,” she said with contempt. The pigeon darted its eyes at me. “I will not come back but I will know when you are ready.”
And with that, the pigeon evaporated into the air. The feeling of inner peace left me just as abruptly, and the fear, the regret and anxiety know filled me to the brim.
I looked at the wall and saw the tiles and the grout. I glanced away and looked back and there was a poster painted with an image of a dove with a bright light behind it soaring high in the sky.
“Nice of you to recognize me.” I heard a voice inside me say.
“Are you a woman or a pigeon?” I thought.
“I can be anything.” The voice said back