Something About A Train Whistle
I heard a train whistle this morning. I often do. It sent me off on another writing tangent! Below is the result.
Susan heard the train whistle far in the distance. It was a familiar sound and a lonely one. She had heard the muted blare twice a day, every day for years, a mournful call into the early morning and then later, in the evening, just as the sun was sinking behind the coastal hills.
When Susan was younger she had imagined what excitement she would feel if she could step onto a train and venture to an exotic place she had never seen. Aw! What a time she would have if she could traipse the hills of San Francisco or frolic on Ocean Beach on a foggy day. She would pull off her stockings and splash barefoot in the foamy surf. She would buy saltwater taffy, the kind that would stick to her teeth allowing her to savor the sweetness. She would ride a cable car, clutching on for dear life, and relish the damp air rushing through her hair.
It happened only in her dreams though.
For sixty-five years, Susan had lived on her parents’ ranch that lay far north, away from the city, away from the shore. She had no friends, for no one lived within thirty miles of her. And, of course, she had never loved a man; she’d hardly even spoken to one. She went to town once a month with her mother, jostling along in a wrecked, pick-up truck for miles to buy supplies. This occurred for years until her mother died one day, right out of the blue. Her father followed soon thereafter so Susan lived alone in a silent world, save for wildlife that frequented the place. Red tailed hawks, deer, rabbits, and coyotes were her only companions and isolation bore in on her.
To tell the truth, she was weary of it all, but did not have the wherewithal to change a thing. She had only her books, her drawings, and her imagination – those comforts, and the train. With each call of the whistle, she managed to conjure a new invented adventure. Without that hooting cry beckoning so predictably, she might not have gone on, so she welcomed it. Something about the wonted train whistle set her mind free.