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A MEETING ON THE TRAIN


There is always a potential romantic adventure, however slight and passing, when one is open and allowing life to unfold for us.
I watched attentively as a woman, one among many, but a particular woman, walked down the isle of the train I was on. I casually watched as she put her baggage on the overhead rack, with a sigh, signifying, “well, this is it, it’s all okay,” then sat across from where I was sitting on the Amtrak train from Buffalo to NYC. My male ego, or is it my soul, always yearning for connections, or simply, my thinking mind, wonders why she didn’t sit in the open seat next to me. I laughed inside myself, thinking she had a similar thought, as she looked, briefly, in my direction.
After sitting a while, she walked towards the dinning car, coming back with a cardboard tray with a light repast, and soon after, when the young girl sitting by the window seat left, the woman took that seat. Later I see her doing some writing; like journal notes or poetry. Tired, she briefly tried an awkward full body stretch, an attempt to get
comfortable on the partially reclining train seat. My eyes see her stretched out body trying to relax; my mind though, is reminded of her body as a sexual pose. She sat up, tried some reading, but soon put her head down on the fold-out tray and rests. None of her attempts at finding comfort looked satisfying.
It’s a long train ride; I don’t stare, only occasional glances in her direction, passing time, having imaginal thoughts. Why not? She is interesting; exuding an energy that suggests her being thoughtful, educated. She’s dressed casual, is nice looking, well figured, portraying a particular persona that feels familiar, as if we have something in common; more than our being human, of the opposite sex.
Later on she gets my attention again, only by what she is doing, not intentionally seeking it, or was she? She’s not even facing me, but is looking out the window with her elbows on the pull-out tray, thoughtfully, contemplatively, considering the grey, cut away rock wall, alongside the rail tracks. I felt she was in wonderment, as I have been, about how this mountainside was sculpted away, with, I’m supposing, dynamite and jackhammers, large earth and rock moving machines, breaking and cracking through part of a mountain so the train tracks could be lain where they are, along the Hudson river. There is beauty to this stretch of the ride, compared to the wasted industrial cities the train passed through to the north.
And of course, I realistically considered, she may have only been looking at the ragged, jagged rock wall, while thinking about a child at home, or a sick grandmother.
I have no idea if she’s paying attention to me, it didn’t appear so, or matter. It’s my mind playing my own games,
even to the extent of thinking about getting to meet her after, when we were off the train, inviting her to have coffee together.
When the train stopped at Penn Station, the end of the line, I quickly rose, volunteering, to take off of the overhead rack the luggage of the student girl who was now sitting on the isle, next to the focus of my attention. I glanced briefly at my new friend, as she smiled toward my glance seeing me being chivalrous. I immediately was reminded of the bumper sticker about “random acts of kindness.”
As my friend took her pack off the overhead rack, she made a light comment to herself indicating a slight struggle going on in her life. Me standing near to her, getting my own bags, comment, “have things been hard?” and she said, “yes, a bit. I’ve been working a lot the past week in Albany.” I give her some words of encouragement that things will get better. She smiles, thanking me for acknowledging her difficult time. I tell her, “changing ones energy, makes things better.” She repeats with a smile to me, “yeah, the energy,” acknowledging an understanding of how energy works.
I ask her what kind of work she does and she tells me, “I’m an organizer, working with businesses and communities and I had a lot of meetings this week.” I tell her, “I’m a social worker and have been in many community meetings. They get draining.”
“Ah,” She responds,” you’ve probably seen a lot more of difficult times then I have.”
“Yes, maybe,” I reply back as we walk away from the train. We smile, suggestive of a connection, a friendship that is brief and in passing, as we bid each other, “good-bye,” I choosing not to make any more of this passing interlude, since my life is full, I’m only visiting New York, and I’m not sure of the schedule of the Metro North train to Katonah, where my love, Batina, is awaiting me.


A lot of crazy zig zag river lines,
40,000 feet below,
Plane flight over snow covered Montana.
Must be higher altitude than earlier Iowa,
As earlier I saw below sporadic small white lines of snow on flat farm parcels.
Sunset to the west heading to Seattle, is bright orange out of my plane window seat.
Blue western sky above
With streaks and steaks of lines of light colored clouds
Reflecting the setting sun, now, as it will do, moment to moment, changing colors as the grays begin to dominate the horizon from 40,000 feet.

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Comment by Sh'mal Ellenberg on April 15, 2009 at 9:11pm
Well, nothing is like that story.
Comment by Michael Levin on April 15, 2009 at 6:15pm
All I'm going to say is "Manson". You know what I mean. Encore!

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