Stepping onto the platform
Most mornings I ride the train into town. This is my fourth week at a new job that allows me to make the fifteen minute journey every morning. A month ago I found public transportation daunting and had little to no interest in commuting. After much deliberation I decided to look past my bias and discovered that beneath 'scared' was a sliver of 'excited'. I pulled at the sliver and boarded the train. Immediately overwhelmed by my surroundings I ducked my head until my stop was called. Nothing seemed to register, buildings and cars whizzed by and It made me feel nauseatingly out of place. I wanted to block it out with headphones, filtering a familiar pulse in my ears. I couldn't, it was just too much. Everyone was so quiet, so stiff. This mourning of the daily commute went on for a week.
Monday appeared, again. The plan was to actively take it all in. I would not be perturbed by the grinding gears that cut into the morning silence. I would smile at passengers and read my book. I was determined to find my rhythm. It reminded me of taking notes during a college lecture, becoming hurriedly unsuccessful at organizing the details.
During week three the alien passengers transformed into my fellow beings. Most mornings I chuckled into the pages of my book about a woman in very much the same situation as my own. I paused to watch the sea of colors morph through the glass that surrounded me. I learned that those fifteen minutes were a gift.
Full of silent, knowing smiles.
Surrounded by the cool cast of morning.
It's week four and the train is pulling to a slow, grinding halt in the heart of downtown Portland. The doors swing open eliciting the immediate shuffle of feet. I keep my seat as long as time will allow, willing everyone to stay put. I step onto the platform and watch all of those with whom I'd become close, retreat with their backs to me. If only they'd slow, I could hold on to those fifteen minutes a little while longer.