Thursday, May 28, 2009

Ghost Train

Back in New York, it rains. But it's a pleasant rain, like an Oregon mist, where an umbrella is hardly worth the trouble. Work is laid-back because my boss is out of town and I can catch up uninterrupted on things that need doing. But I seem to go in slow motion, never quite accomplishing all I set out to do. My Russian coworker spends the day annoying me, playing with my hair, forever asking me for the word in English that means someone who can convince you that what's true is false. Charlatan, I suggest, but he doesn't buy it. Snake charmer? He thinks it's demagogue, but I wrinkle my nose and shake my head. I spend more of the day than I want to listening to coworkers complain about other coworkers. I sigh and eat salt-water taffy from Salt Lake City.

When I come home from work I find out that my friend Josh is moving back to Idaho, and it makes me sad, because I really like him and we hardly had time to get to know each other. So we decide to go to a Cake concert, only to find out that it sold out. Instead, we're going to bake pies for the LDS block party/bake sale, and for ourselves too. So I head out into the rainy night to buy ingredients.

I'm tempted by the fruit stand man, especially the cherries, down to $2.99 a pound, dark red and glossy. But I don't have any cash, as usual. My mom worries about me being so far away and in such a big city, and sometimes when we say goodbye on the phone she says, "Don't wander the streets at night!" It always makes me laugh, but I try to be very careful and observant when I'm going anywhere at night. Nevertheless, my mind tends to wander, especially when I see the ghost train. The ghost train is what I call it, but it's really just an old subway train that they use to transport stuff like trash and building materials. Sometimes I see it late at night when I'm waiting on the platform, and it always fascinates me, because interspersed among the flat cargo-loaded cars are the regular old subway cars full of empty seats inside, where long-gone people sat when they would commute to work or take a holiday to Coney Island back in the days before air conditioning. The train is bright red on the outside and silver-gray on the inside, and filled with dark shadows. It moves so slowly along the track I could jump onto one of the old cars if I wanted to. Maybe something magical would happen if I did. Maybe I'd go back in time to when it was a shiny state-of-the-art mode of transportation, before its purpose was carrying garbage. Maybe it was more beautiful back then, but I don't know. I like the old ghost train full of shadows.


Lis said...

Such beautiful prose.

What kind of cakes did you make?

Elin said...

It's not the ghost train, it's the soul train!!!

Lady Holiday said...

We made pies--blueberry, cherry, and apple. Also, best news ever: the next day, the last day of his internship, Josh got hired, so he's staying in NYC. Now I won't have to never see him again.