the police and investigators came and were all over the place pointing
to each other underneath the train. They were pointing directly
underneath me, like that was where his body was. Right under my
seat. I had this feeling. Like I could feel him. Like we were connected.
Weird. I thought, if his soul went straight up, it might have gone
right through me. But they didn't point in one place, they also
pointed in front of and behind where I was sitting. Like he was
in pieces. I tried to catch the eyes of one of the investigators,
to see what he saw, but he did not look up at the passengers. None
of the investigators did. I really wanted to connect with someone,
you know, and I sure wasn't connecting to these shadows on the train.
-- what's up? I'm on the train. We hit some guy and we're stuck
here now outside Mineola. They had to turn the power off and it's
friggin' hot. Yeah, dead. Hey listen...some -- hey-hey -- this lady
opened a window and you can see the guy's arm down on the tracks.
I'm not kidding, his fuckin' arm. Of course I looked."
sat there for most of the afternoon until the voice came on the
intercom again: "Ladies and gentlemen, we are going to move
everyone to the rear four cars of the train and get you guys home."
got their stuff together and started walking, like zombies, in this
solemn procession down the aisle. I didn't want to go. I looked
out the window and waited for everyone else to leave. I felt more
at home, alone in this mess, than in any brightly lit kitchen. All
the passengers left, and it was quiet. I watched as the investigators
outside got ready to pull him out. But the ticket guy came by again.
"Lady, you better get moving, the train's gonna separate in
up my bag and started walking down the aisle. I thought to myself,
I could hop off this train. I wanted to go down there and find his
shoes. I'd figure out which way he was facing, if he saw the train
coming or it hit him from the back. I'd figure out what he must
have been thinking, and if he changed his mind at the last minute.
And you know, I wouldn't look up at the people in the train either.
Fuck 'em. Let them take the shuttle bus back to their little families.
I wanted to be the one to crawl right under that train. I'd chalk
mark him. And then I'd pick him up, piece by piece.
I stepped outside between the two cars, I looked to my left, and
right there on the side of the tracks, lying not ten feet from me
was an arm, his arm, cut off at the shoulder. I stopped. It looked
exactly like Frank's arm. Hairy. Fake. It didn't look gross at all,
just a pale bluish-white arm, the soft underside with lots of black
hair on it. I could see the follicles even. An arm, away from its
home. Who knew dead could look so familiar?
to the end of the line much later than I wanted to. It was dark
and fucking freezing. The four passengers who got off the train
with me found their cars and drove off, and the welcome booth was
closed for the season, so I started walking into town. It wasn't
much of a town. The stores were all dark, and I was getting nervous
about where I was going to sleep. It was so quiet. We don't get
quiet like that in the city. I looked up to the sky to find something
I could recognize. It was loaded with stars. I hadn't seen stars
like that since camping with my father up in Canada. We'd always
name the constellations -- find the Big Dipper. I found the Big
Dipper and then I followed the spout to the North Star, which was
shining right over this bar. I took it as a sign and started running.
I'd warmed up a little by the time I got there.
this place. I like the music on the jukebox. Merle Haggard.
you shine just like
there's nothin' wrong
So I ordered my Guinness, settled into the bar and waited for the
man sitting next to me with the warm, watery eyes to ask me where
I was from.
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