Wednesday, October 13, 2004

cold morning thoughts

There in the darkness of the early morning sky hangs a sliver of moon. The sliver is illuminated. The sky is clear enough to see the entire outline of the moon by the light of the sliver, setting off circular silhouette. I pace to keep the chill from setting in; occasionally allowing a reflexive sniffle. A train roars past, clink-clinking into the northeastern horizon. Cars begin to trickle into the parking lot of the train station. With each gulp I take, the coffee in my NYSC travel mug is giving up its warmth.

The second of the eastbound trains has passed. I study the vanishing point for the headlights of the westbound commuter. The bend of the tracks, at first invisible, come alive with a white light at the appointed time. Three headlights appear as the engine makes the round. The loudspeaker blasts a prerecorded droning about an approaching train. An enormous diesel motor can be heard reducing its speed; some thoughtful engineer turns off two of the headlights and dims the third, main one. A bell clangs. The gentle giant glides past, nearly at an idle, brakes squeaking, air valves releasing pressure at intervals of short, loud blasts. Only two or three steps separate me from the oncoming train. It is gravity and a pair of steel rails that keep the beast tame.

A handful of commuters mills silently on the platform, eyes down. A queue forms. Stewards disembark, stand by the doors, and mumble greetings. On board the warm train, there are plenty of seats. Having taken the first available one, I remove the laptop computer from my bag to occupy myself. As I write this, my eyelids grow heavy. If I am nearly put to sleep by my own writing, what on earth will happen to you who read it?


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