Monday, October 20, 2014

Man and Woman at the Train Station

It was a big white Toyota pickup truck, a beefy looking and tall Tundra. It missed the entrance to the main parking lot and swung around the auxiliary one to get back to the drop-off area.

A man and a woman, both blonde, both lost somewhere in that crevice between youth and middle age, alit. She was in a hurry, tense; frumpy and sexy in a black dress. He was slow, with the gait of a former high school football player who had gone on to a career in gutter repair. She bought a ticket at the Metrolink machine while he pulled her bags from the truck bed: four pieces of cheap luggage, enough for a long trip, or all of someone’s personal belongings.

“There are no trains on Sunday,” I told them.

“What?” she asked, as if she had understood what I said but hadn’t been able to process its implication. At the same time, he looked at me with the gaze of a dim-witted dog wondering if it was going to get a scratch behind the ears.

“Where can I get a train?”

“Downtown Los Angeles,” I said. "Where do you want to go?"

“I don’t care. I just don’t want to be here anymore,” she said.

Neither of them was crying. Neither of them was sad. He stared lazily. She looked around as if maybe something on the platform would give her different information than I had.

“You can get a train anywhere from downtown,” I assured her while pointing to where Los Angeles was via the tracks.

Frantic and yet calm, she looked back at the vacant man and the big truck, then turned to me and asked, “What about a bus? Does the bus stop here on Sundays? Doesn’t matter where it goes.”

“There’s no bus,” I explained.

One by one the bags went back into the truck, softly – without malice. The man got behind the steering wheel as if it was any other day. The woman climbed into the passenger seat as if she had not expected to ever sit there again.

The truck took off in the direction that I had pointed. They were quickly too far for me to tell them that wasn't how to get to Los Angeles. I had no way to explain that road they were speeding down was just a very long dead end.

But then again, I’m not certain it would have mattered.

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