A Face on a Train

She’s just another face on a passing train,

searching for a smile when she reaches her station.

But there’s no destination on her ticket,

there is no one waiting for her on the platform.

You see, she’s on the one way train that never stops.

She’s on the one way train that never stops.

 

She sits on the train going nowhere.

The blank ticket is clenched in her fist.

She struggles to remember that far away name

of that station from where she came,

and to where she’s going

on that train that never stops.

 

Her face flashes past station after station,

Never slowing down,

Never speeding up.

Different Strangers claim the seat next to her.

Different Faces claim her heart.

There was the freckled-face girl and the sun-kissed boy.

She laughed with the girl and giggled with the boy.

But sooner or later, as they always do,

That freckled-face girl and that sun-kissed boy

Found their stations and on the platform was the smile.

 

And she sits on the train going nowhere.

The useless ticket clenched in her fist.

She struggles to remember that far away name

of that station from where she came,

and to where she’s going

on that train that never stops.

 

The tracks stretch endlessly before her.

The tunnels are forever dark and bleak.

The empty seats surround her,

every one of them filled with ghosts from her past.

Broken promises crackle over the speakers.

Fresh wounds cause pain to her back,

as the train speedily carries her away

down, down, down its rusted track,

and she finally realizes that

her metal train can never stop.

 

Anger furrows her brow as she

rips the false ticket to bits.

One tear for the cowardly boy.

Two for forgotten promises hanging in the air.

Three for the ghosts suffocating her.

Four for the friend who forgot—

That wily freckled-faced girl who forgot.

 

Alone she sits on the train going nowhere.

The useless ticket shredded to bits.

She’s forgotten the name, ‘cause it’s so far away,

of that station from where she came,

and to where she’s going.

She’s on that train that can’t ever stop.

 

With a loud cry she sinks to the cold, hard floor

joining that ruined ticket on the ground.

Resentment, Bitterness, Pain swell up inside her chest,

and come bursting out in the form of lonely tears.

 

And the ghosts press forward,

And the secrets grow louder,

And the tunnels will never end.

She cries and cries and cries among

the ruins of her ticket.

Salty, thick tears flood her face.

Hot, painful tears blind her eyes.

Wet, thick hair sticks to her hands.

Yet she sees every face and feature

of the Faces and Strangers who left her.

 

She was not wrong for crying for so long.

She was not shallow, whinny, or weak.

For she stared every Face and Stranger in the eye

and and them “Why?”

 

Why did you leave me on the one way train going nowhere?

You knew this ticket was useless in my fist.

You knew I struggled to remember my own name.

Could you not look at me and see?

I promise to no longer hide.

Will you stop and stay with me?

 

How long she must wait for an answer she’ll never know;

maybe someday her soul might heal.

The Faces of the Forgetting can never fade from her sight,

but each new tear heals her painful heart.

 

Raising her head, she looks at her ghosts.

They return to their empty seats around her.

Their vocal secrets become a background noise

as the throbbing pain in her back fades.

With tired arms she pulls herself up and picks a new chair,

the empty one whose back used to face her.

Tired yet determined, she gazes out her window

as the barren landscape flashes passed,

and thinks that this one-way train,

that barrels away,

it will, someday, stop.

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