Tuesday, 6 January 2015

Meeting the Train - MWBB

I didn't manage to write anything for the Christmas week for Mid-Week Blues-Bustermostly, because I was too busy, but also because the song didn't work for me. But the New Year song did. It was very Bluesy, and I got a very middle America vibe from it, so that is what I went with. I struggled with the story and where I wanted to go with it, keeping in mind the word limit, and I felt very 'meh' about it, but it still caught the judges eye, who gave it a third place, which pleased me no end. It's always interesting what other people read into your stories.

The prompt song was:
 Slow Train, by Joe Bonamassa

Jefferson sat out on the veranda, enjoying the late afternoon sun. He had a good view from here, could see the track up on the ridge and knew the train would be coming soon; he could set his clock by it. And he knew he had to go and meet it soon too, although for now he was content to watch this one pass.  

He’d thought it through many times, watched himself in his minds eye take that walk up the hill to the ridge. How he would look back across the land he’d lived on for the better part of his life, as the sound of the engine grew louder. He’d have no regrets.

He’d lived with Eileen for enough years now to know that regrets were a bad thing. He watched her wallow so deep, consuming herself with grief for what could have been. He’d tried at the beginning to pull her out of it, but it got too hard. She’d suck him right in too, if he’d let her. But he wouldn’t. Damn, somebody had to be here, work the place, and remember what living was for!

He wondered if they’d be there waiting for him, wondered what they looked like, and if they’d recognise him. He’d spent his life wondering those things, but now he could feel the clock ticking harder, and couldn’t hold off for much longer. Although while he could still rock here in the chair and drink his beer, he wasn’t in a hurry; the sun was yet to get down and reveal the night lanterns in the sky, along with a full moon lighting up the land with its eerie brightness. He wanted to see that one more time at least.

Then her voice came, dispelling his daydreams, calling for him to come tend to her, and he felt the pull again. Maybe tonight would be a good night, he could see his way up the ridge in the full moon. He knew what time the train would be coming.

He went into the house and up the stairs to the bed he’d shared with her for what felt like forever, and saw her all swallowed up by life. There was little he could do for her now but give comfort. Her breathing was short and he didn’t think she’d make the morning, although it wasn’t the first time he’d thought that. He looked through the medicines by the bed and thought about his trip up to the ridge. Watching her made him feel more restless than ever. He patted her arm as he gave her what she needed, and stroked her hair. With her quieted he knew it was time.

With nothing more than his wallet in his pocket and his best jacket on, he stepped off the veranda and started the climb. The light was now caught between the setting of one and the rising of the other, its juxtaposition putting the house behind him in darkness with the light in front. He paused as he always dreamed he would, just before the top, and looked back at the home he had built for them.

From this position he could just make out the side yard and the three dark crosses in the shadow by the house. She wanted them near, she’d said, so they knew where home was, even though they’d never lived in it. As they’d brought each one back from the hospital, he’d dug their graves, burying a little piece of himself along with them.

He turned then, at that thought, and headed on to meet the train. He could hear it now, travelling along the ridge. It would be here soon, and he would be there to meet it. And he hoped they would be there too, as he stepped out on the tracks and faced the big engine at full speed.

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