Death Train

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.