Snakes and Pills

060 - push really

They knew things weren't at their greatest.

On the train tracks they sat. The train tracks that often had been their favorite place to meet up, to hang out, and to pass the time away.

As kids, it had always felt like an adventure, there had been an element of risk when it came to dodging the freight trains speeding along the lines in the gravel. Sure, the trains were noisy and their rumble alone gave them ample warning that a train would be approaching.

But it was something of a blind corner, and they knew that there was no way an engineer would be able to stop the train in time even if he were to see them. It was dangerous, and that was what had always made it fun.

The times were different now. They were older. She had kicked off her shoes, and he pulled up his hoodie. The cold autumn air hung heavily in their lungs as they sat staring up at the star-speckled sky.

Both of their faces were coarse with the textures of dried tears. But right now, they just sat silent and red-eyed. Dew formed on the blades of grass that led up to the little embankment where they and the tracks lay.

Neither of them felt that they could manage to look at each other. Maybe it was something they would both regret, but for now, both sets of their eyes could only manage to stare off into the infinite distance of the sky.

It seemed hard to imagine all that space up there. You could fit anything in that space, and the girl pondered the thought that somewhere out there, the exact same scenario was playing out. Different planet, different creatures, possibly, but the same circumstances. With just one difference: those creatures had hope left.

The boy coughed, and it brought her back from her dream. She turned to him. "Are you okay?" she asked, concerned. He nodded. They both knew he was not okay, and neither was she, for that matter.

They returned to their silence. She began to imagine the tracks below them trembling. The roar of an engine hurtling towards them. She imagined not moving, not flinching an inch. The boy implored her to move, to get out of the way. But she convinced him that, if she were meant to walk away from this situation unscathed, she would.

He understood, and stood there with her. The train rumbled closer, and as it cleared the bend in the line, its headlights glaring down on them, they stood there, facing it down. She wanted to be brave, to stare it right in the face as it bore down on them. She had to close her eyes as it approached, though. Maybe he did, too.

The train did not hit her. It did not hit him. It slipped on by, bringing with it an intense gust of wind. In a few more clanking moments, it was gone, past them, and off into the night.

She opened her eyes, for real this time, and realized that none of that had really occurred. She was still seated on the tracks, and so was he. There was no train, although there would inevitably be one. Suddenly, he stood up.

She looked at him, confused. "What?" she asked him. "Come on, we're going. I'm not going to just sit around waiting anymore," he said. She slipped her shoes back on, and picked her body up off the cold, smooth rails.

They held each other by the hand, and walked through the wet field back towards her truck.


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