I almost died today. Sometimes I can become so hyper-focused on a task or a thing its sort of like an obsession. Blotting out everything to the point of oblivion. While I was focused on the train I needed to be on, I headed for the train crossing. I never saw or heard the train that was about to crush my body to a bloody pulp. I didn’t see my life flash before my eyes the way I sometimes do right before I have a completely near miss.
As I headed toward the train I needed to be on, horns blared brightly. I couldn’t understand where this was coming from. I needed to cross the tracks to get to where I was going. I was thinking how odd it was the color of the trains never seem to make any sense. For some reason, I stopped. On the pebbles of the platform my toes curled and held me firmly in place. Paralyzed and frozen I turned my head to see the Death Train. Conductor at the helm holding his breathe tightly. I could have reached my hand up to touch the nose of the train. Superman pose, but I was frozen like a deer in headlights. I saw the conductor. My eyes blinked as I watched him shake his head, draw in a breathe and stand up. I thought he was going to scold me, chastise me for not paying attention. I think he threw up instead. It would’ve really ruined his day.
I was a bit shaken by this near miss for this would have been nothing more than a tragic accident and a horrific news story. My untimely death would have been a real inconvenience for a good lot of people. The people on the smelly urine filled car that nearly crushed me. The conductor driving the train, I imagine, would have been put on “administrative leave” which is really just a coy way of saying “your no longer employed.”
My co-workers who would begin to wonder with angst why I was late or whether or not I was working from home. Maybe they would find it unusual as to not know of my whereabouts.
And news of my death may spread in a most unusual way. Water cooler talk – “Hey, did you hear - a woman was hit by the train this morning?” “Oh, yeah. I heard about that. What a tragedy…so you going to the game this weekend?”
My family who would never see me again or hug me or have me cook them a meal or hear me say “I love you” one more time. My kids would have lost their mother. My husband would’ve lost his wife. My friends would’ve lost a friend. I forget I have many roles and am many things to many people.
Not today, Death Train. Today is not your day. Not my day. Don’t come for me. I imagine the conductor went home with a long face and exclaimed to his wife, “they should pay for emotional distress,” as he recount the days events. He probably has teenagers. I imagine he hugged them tight while they whined, “Da-ad! I have homework to do.” Scampering down the hallway oblivious to how much they need him.
Whatever faith or non-faith you may ascribe to, I tell you this: I know I am here for a reason. I have work to do and I’m not done yet. Trying to be as ordinary as possible. I have friendships to maintain and the ones that have yet to develop in their own time. I have kids to raise and love on and eventually, they will have kids and I will get to continue walking through this life . I strive everyday to give something back to the continuity of life and although it isn’t much, and I know it isn’t, I try to listen intently, caringly, empathically. I try to be a good person and do my best. Some days I fail. And some days I’m just exhausted and I let hope run thin and dry.
And other days, like today, I remember I belong in this world, in this life, with these people.
Don’t come for me, not today, Death Train. It’s not your day. It’s not my day to die.