By Ariana Rosenberg
The train began to pass foliage at an increasing pace, having stabilized from leaving the train station. Leaves brushed against the sides of the train, riding on the southerly wind that navigated its way over the winding train tracks. Seats mismatched and dotted with stained patches crowded the ageing train, the seats frayed and worn out from having people’s behinds constantly create friction. The train had grown old alongside the village, its ancient walls rusting in unison. To the people, the train was the only means of transport in the village as the forest’s terrain was overgrown and covered with debris on either side of the train tracks.
They sat next to each other on the train, still pretending to be strangers... the divide between widening in the silence and the progression of time. They had begun separating a long time ago, the bonds of friendship no longer strong enough to keep them interacting civilly. Now Samuel and Anna treated each other as strangers, neither one relenting in letting the other one from becoming more than an acquaintance. They could not avoid crossing paths, considering the train was the only transportation to their village. Samuel and Anna had crossed path dozens of times in the last few months; one unaware while the other took great effort to avoid detection.
Samuel turned his neck away from Anna, having grown uncomfortable from her steady gaze. He redirected his focus ahead. Anna’s gaze continued to send prickles through his cheeks. Samuel’s posture became rigid. It took effort to gather his strength and remain composed. Anna was disheartened. The last few months had been difficult for her. She missed Samuel. They have begun growing close during March, yet now Samuel wouldn’t look at her or feel relaxed in her presence. She gazed at him again, head slightly tilted, trying to figure him out. Samuel continued to ignore that she was in such close proximity to him.
Branches graze against the sides of the train, gradually building up as they reach a snag on the journey. Outside, the forest is tangled and it’s beginning to affect the carriages. The path here is no longer well kept. The sides of the train were being scratched by debris falling from the canopy of trees. The train was growing unsteady. The train was leaning to the side on the tracks. There was nothing that separated them now. The train was out of control. All they had was each other. They were in a state of free falling now. Samuel saw that Anna was losing hold of her seat. He got shakily to his feet and tried to hold onto her. They were both scared of the out of control train. There started to be a loud screeching noise coming from the train. It was so loud they could barely hear each despite being within metres of each other. Anna started crying and Samuel grew uncomfortable just watching her cry. It was not the best scenario to be in. He unsure whether he should comfort her or remain standoffish. Not the best options either. He couldn’t just let her cry. It was a life or death situation. It warranted some panic that’s for sure. Samuel made his way towards her, walking against the train’s turbulent mode. He reached her finally and gathered her in an embrace. She was now crying on his left shoulder.
There was more screeching noises coming from the train tracks. Not much was stopping the train from crashing. Suddenly the train began to slow down. The side lights began to flash against the gloom of an underpass they were approaching. It did not seem like they’d make it through before the train completely stopped. A few minutes later and they were stuck beneath the underpass of a busy road. It did not seem like they were going to move much further. Samuel and Anna were still in a tight embrace.
“Are you okay now, Anna?” Samuel asked
“Yes I am. Are we on speaking terms again? She asked
“I guess we are, considering you just spoke.” He joked
“You could at least take this seriously.” Anna screeched.
“Woah, Anna. You are definitely not okay.” Samuel responded as he backed away. Anna turned her back to him and returned to her sit. The train was at a stand still. There was only the sound of traffic from above the underpass.
Samuel sighed. It was going to take ages before Anna spoke to him again. It was secretly glad. He could go back to ignoring her again. It was her loss in the end.
The train began to move again. Both Anna and Samuel sighed in relief. They weren’t going to be stuck on the same train for much longer. Anna looked at Samuel discreetly. Samuel pretended to not notice. Anna snorted. Samuel looked up at her, amused. Anna then began to make clicking noises. Samuel closed his eyes in annoyance at Anna’s petty attempts at getting his attention. A few minutes later the train reached it’s second to last stop.
“Woopie!” Samuel exclaimed. Before Anna noticed, he’d reached the opening train doors and hopped off.
“Damn and I was so close to reconciliation...” said Anna
The pair did not end up seeing each other for a full month before they ended up on the train again. By then they had overcome their differences.