There are seven stops between where I board the light rail and where I get off. I usually don’t pull out my book until the train because right now it’s really hard to read a book when even in the heavy duty gloves, my fingers are freezing. So I spend my whole time thinking.
Walking to the light rail
I think about making it there on time. It’s not the biggest worry if I don’t, there’s another Trax that comes fifteen minutes after the one I usually take that on good days will have me at the station reasonably before the train leaves. But right now, everything is screwed up because of the weather, and I’d rather have the Trax that gets me there twenty minutes before the train arrives than the one that gets me there five minutes before. I think about how in January, I might like to stop in at 7/11 and get a hot dog and a soda and maybe something else and eat something hot on the train. Of course, I’d need a way to keep it hot for a good half an hour before I can get on the train, and then it occurs to me that it would be a better treat for summer, and an inspiration to leave half an hour earlier to take the earlier train and bus. I think about how it’s only been ten minutes since I left my house and my feet are already freezing in the warmest socks I own.
I always board from here because it’s the easiest station to get to. There are at least two others in easy walking distance, but I like this one the most. When I get on the train, I think about how my hair is wet because I couldn’t get my blow dryer to work, and how glad I am that I have one of Mom’s homemade floppy yarn hats. Between it and the hood, the cold can’t seep into my skull so quickly. It takes till we’ve arrived at the next station for the heat to thaw up my feet.
The giggly kids behind me get off, it’s easier to focus on my book then. I’m reading by Laurie Halse Anderson. It’s not the first time I’ve read it, but it’s still an amazing book. My thoughts fragment into the style of the writing- the essays and the loneliness and the secrets. It’s a good book to read on the train.
900 South, Ballpark, Central Pointe
I just focus on reading, noting the stations in the corner of my mind so I don’t get lost and miss my stop. That would really suck. I probably wouldn’t be able to catch anything in time to get back. People get on and get off, normally those who would walk or get the bus prefer the Trax during winter, it seems. I don’t blame them, it’s too cold to do much.
Millcreek, Meadowbrook, Murray North
I wish I had headphones to listen to music on the way in. I love music as much as I love books. It is a part of my very soul. There are whole songs that I could sing, but I’ve forgotten the words to. The second I hear them playing though, I can remember every beat. If I was only allowed to take two things with me into isolation, I would bring my books and my music. Then I would be alone with my most precious pieces.
If I weren’t scared that deviation from the paths I’ve learned to get to work on time, I might start taking the blue line from Courthouse and then go to the city station, get on the train ten minutes later and with less freezing. The courthouse stop is only three more blocks than the library. I have to stand in the cold for what initially is suggested as fifteen minutes by the electronic board, but really turns out to be thirty. I pace up and down the station to try and avoid freezing, but I’m only moderately successful. My toes are still thawing out aboard the train. I see two of the people who ride the bus with me every day waiting as well, both in thick coats with furry hoods. Their breath steams in the unforgiving air.
On the train
We’ve only stopped once so far, but the second stop can’t be far ahead. The sun is rising now, and tries to shine in my eyes while I write. There is a long distance freight train on the tracks too, though not on the ones that the local trains use. I don’t know whether it’s reached its destination, or is just frozen in place. It’s covered in graffitied smilie faces and goofy signatures. I don’t understand why people fight the harmless graffiti so much. Probably in a moment, I’m going to stop and finish reading my book. The snow is blue where the sunlight doesn’t touch it. The mountains are still rose with sunrise. It’s beautiful.