Posted by jdg | Monday, September 17, 2007

On Friday afternoon we sat, just the two of us, in a train station, our final goodbyes delayed at least a half an hour by freight congestion, watching college kids waiting for Friday-afternoon Greyhounds, homeless men chomping at (or talking to) invisible shoulder parrots and pushing the limits of loitering laws, farm families who'd driven so many miles to put one of their kin on a train or a bus to Godknowswhere with nothing but his Axl-Rose hopes and a small 30-year-old suitcase that never saw much use till now. "Remember all the times we used to do this," she asked me, as if I wasn't already thinking about them. A lifetime ago we knew our share of suffering in airports, train stations, and bus depots, and we remembered them all watching the hipster college couple murmuring nose to nose in the corner, the nerdy kid down the bench fighting back tears while saying goodbye to his father before climbing aboard an Indian Trails bus to Owosso, Flint, Port Huron, Detroit. I used to always ask why we did it. Why do we do this if it feels so bad? But there were always other scenes made in airports, train stations, a weird symmetry: jumped leg-wrapping hugs in Dublin and tears of relief in Beijing. There were always arrivals that followed departures.

"How long's it been, since we did this, said goodbye like this?"

"Since you took that deposition in Minneapolis, over a year ago, I think."

"You'll only be in Chicago for a couple days."

She put her head on my shoulder. I still walked along her train like a guy in a corny movie.