January 5, 2010

Apropos Train by Crystal Ann Sloka

My thoughts overcome me. The night air chills my skin, my fear makes my breathing shallow. How could I let this happen again? Another heartbreak behind my diamond-studded belt, left with him picking up the tab at dinner, and me walking home; a teary mess. Life has had a funny way of breaking my heart these 26 years. Perhaps I am too trusting, or maybe just naive. Oh well, nothing can be done to change what's happened, he let me know he couldn't see himself with me for the long haul. He could've given me a ride home at least, asshole. Apparently that would of made things awkward, he said he found someone new. I don't know her name, but I do know she has great taste in perfume. So here I am, walking aimlessly to an empty home.


W-what was that? Abruptly I stop, afraid to go further. Slowly I turn around to find- no. This can't be, I must be losing my mind. Here sits a large, black train right in the middle of my suburbs! I look around, there are no signs of where it might of come from. I can feel my heart in my throat as I approach the entrance. Somehow, this train calls to me. It knows my name, it begs me to climb its antique steps. There is a calming sensation over my body, and I know without hesitation I am meant to board this train. Immediately I look for an empty seat, ready to start my journey. The train driver approaches me, with a smile on his face.
"Welcome Crystal, we've been expecting you. I hope you find everything to your liking. Be sure to visit all the compartments, your guests are waiting! No matter your decision today, I hope your trip is wonderful!," he states, looking pleased with himself.
Decision?, I ponder to myself, not sure what he meant by that, but I'm sure I'll figure that out later. I am eager to see who is waiting for me.

I enter the first compartment, and immediately I am overcome by an array of emotions. Everyone I have ever loved is on this train, as if it were a family reunion! Looking around I notice, it's not just my family members, but anyone who has ever shown me a spark of love. I begin celebrating with them, socializing and rejoicing, feeling nothing but the purest of joy. Then it starts to dawn on me, why are we all here? An Aunt I don't recall ever meeting tells me to just enjoy my time with them, to quit worrying. She assures me that everything will be alright if I make the right decision. My cousin tells me to remain strong, no matter what obstacles I might face on this train. I love her so much, hard to believe we've lost in touch over the years. I turn to my right and there they are. I'm so choked up with emotion, I can not control my tears. My brother and sisters! I was beginning to feel as if this day would never come, but here they are, and here I am. I smile, and apologize for making them wait for my company. My brother asks if I've decided yet. Pretending to comprehend his question, I answer sweetly, "Almost Robert, almost." He gently hugs me, and I do not want to let go. He whispers I love you into my ear, and again I am overcome by emotion.
"Crystal, it is time for you to move on," my sister Amanda says. I kiss her cheek gently, and I exit the compartment.

Not sure of what to expect next, I enter the second compartment. Immediately I get an eerie tingle down my spine. You've got to be kidding me. Here sits everyone that's ever hurt me, and yet I still loved. I try my best to stay calm, wanting so badly to turn right around and leave, when my mother comes out of no where and yells, "SIT!" My breathing becomes shallow now. I am scared out of my senses, my limbs obey her words, while disobeying my desires. I start sweating profusely, unsure of what to expect now. Is she going to kill me, are they all going to have their way with me? How I wished I was still in the first compartment! All of a sudden a familiar voice from the crowd starts to speak to me.
"Crystal, you are a horrible person. All the things you've done to me and your son, all the lies told. You've stolen right from under us, how can you possibly want to go on with your life?"
Oh dear god, it was him. Not just anyone, but this was someone who meant the world to me. At one point I had thought he was the love of my life, someone who had my best interests at heart. I just stare at this man, and I wonder why he was here. I thought he had moved on.
Then his demeanor changed, into the man I loved. Sickingly sweet his words came, laced with a hissing poison through my veins.
" Baby, stay here with us. We can get you the help you need, we all have good intentions. The munchkin misses you babe, all you have to do is answer 'no' to your decision."
Wow, that's pretty low of him. but what did I truly expect from this man? As I reach for the door, my mother screams, and next thing I know, there are doctors chasing me, they believe her that I've gone mad! I run as fast as I can to the first compartment, but it is empty.

Feeling all alone, I'm unsure of where to go next, afraid to walk back toward the second compartment, but realizing I have no choice if I want to get to the third, and final compartment. I take a deep breath, and my heart flutters. I start to cry uncontrollably. Somehow I find the strength to push forward, and as I go past the second compartment, I find that it too is empty like the first. Maybe I'm dreaming, hopefully I wake up soon. As I enter the final room, I wipe the tears from my eyes. Looking around, I realize it's a church! I'm feeling nervous, my skin crawls with fear. In the pews to the right of me, sit everyone I knew from the first compartment. They do not recognize me walking in, nor do I think they can sense my presence at all. They are all crying, I want so badly to comfort them. I glance at the pews at the left. No one is there, it is empty. As I approach the altar of the church, I notice a casket. This is a funeral! I should of known, how silly of me! My curiosity gets the better of me, and the urge to peek in to see who has passed on is too strong to resist.
"Y-your kidding me." I say, my jaw dropping and my feet becoming liquid. I drop to my knees and cry, seeing myself in the casket is too much for me to bear. Quickly I get to my feet, as two men approach the altar. There is a familiarity to them.
"So Crystal, what is your answer?" They say in unison.

"W-what is the question?" I can barely form the words.

"Crystal, say no to him, and I will give you everything you ever dreamed of and more! I can love you more than he ever will, more than any man has ever loved you in your lifetime! I will give you all the riches I have to offer, and spoil you for the rest of eternity" The second man proclaimed, intruding on my personal space to give me a kiss on my hand. Was it my imagination or did it burn? Probably my imagination.

The first man quickly intervened, "Crystal my dear, I will not lie to you. I will never deceive you, nor cheat you in any way. I offer you Everlasting Life, what comes with it is Everlasting Love. You are my child, I will never leave you, nor abandon you. I can't offer you material riches, but I can offer you all the love you've ever wanted, and quench your thirst and hunger." There was something so pure about him, so trustworthy, I didn't have a doubt soul that he wasn't lying to me.

Feeling assured, I stepped forth, giving my decision. "Yes, I choose Everlasting Life."

The second man stared at me, pity in his glare. He left the church, and I looked back at the first with hope in my eyes. I am no longer afraid.
"My dear Crystal, on your way home from your date, you were struck by a car. Having seen yourself in the casket, I'm sure you understand that you didn't survive. This train has guided you on your journey to the ultimate decision - where your soul would reside. I'm pleased you chose Everlasting Life."

I felt whole again, and all because I boarded the train.

1 comment:

  1. This story truely touched me. I have to say it is very well written and I look forward to reading more from this author. Good choice in choosing this piece of work, it is very deep and reached me in a way not may storys can. Thanks for the oppertunity!!