I’m flyin down Kedzie.
Windows are down and the gushing breeze works wonders, revitalizing the stagnant waste land that had been my car through this long dong dismal winter.
Green light galore. Each passing green glow winks at me as I pass below. After you, my dear. I smile self-consciously. Well thank you, green light.
I pass the bank. 59◦
Halleluiah, the spell is lifted. There’s no stopping us.
Ah, fiddle sticks. A train.
That’s ok. I can handle it. I’ve got calls to make…hitting a few birds with one stone. Bonus points for me. I am a successful adult.
“Hi honey. How’s it going?”
“Great. Picking up Michael, but stuck at the train. Want to get lunch?”
“Sounds good. Dad will be home any minute. Want to go to Granite City?”
“Perfect.” I lean my head out the window. “This train is going really slow.”
“Your Uncle Billy said to count the cargo trains to pass the time,” Mom suggests with a giggle a little too gratifying.
“Um, ” I humor her. “Ok. One. eight seconds later. Two. ten seconds later. Three….”
“Let me just call you after I get Mikey.”
I hang up.
Extend my head out the window. Still barely moving. I glance in my rear view mirror at the lonesome teenager in the car behind me. I give him a brotherly, Arrrg this stinks, face. I realize he either is not looking at me, or pretending to not look at me, and I steer my attention ahead once again.
My feet are beginning to feel numb. I place the car in park. Stretch out my legs and roll my ankles. Phew. Feet are still attached.
I let out a long sigh, shifting in my seat.
Stuck behind a train. Killin time… I text a friend.
She texts me back lyrics from Girl from Ipanema. Doesn’t exactly curb my skin from crawling, but I appreciate the company and a few more texts ensue. I begin texting pictures to document my suffering. Misery loves company.
No where to go. Michael is five blocks east of the train. Five short blocks. I see others turning around in surrender. I persist ahead, trailing behind moto man. We are fighters, in for the long haul.
I imagine stepping out of my car and walking to the curb. I imagine sprinting down the block. In my tortured state, my mind has amplified my position of paralysis. My back begins to tingle.
Inching ahead. Foot by foot. Windows are still down. Air is idle. It is thirty minutes later, and I feel as if I am slowly dying. A filthy feeling encompasses me. This train. It is smothering me. Sucking the life out of me with a silly graffiti tagged straw. I feel my boiled blood flow through my listless body. This god forsaken train mocks me with each new cargo presented around the bend.
Why? Why train? Why stupid train? Why do you have to go and rain on my happy go lucky, spring filled parade? You’re ugly train. You’re really ugly and I think you’re flaunting yourself just a little too much there. Maybe you need to go a little faster, train. So we are not subjected to your slow stink breath.
I place my car back into Drive and inch forward, imagining a morbid scene of, what would happen if, accidentally, my car went flying forward, slamming over this blue helmeted masked, moto man in front of me? These are the sick, twisted thoughts of idle desperation.
I press my foot firmly on the brake and slowly put my car back into Park. Best to be safe. I’m losing my mind.
Forty minutes… ding ding ding ding ding ding ding …With every inch, the tedium of the excruciating bell rings louder. Holy God, what did I do to deserve this? I allowed that older lady to go ahead of me in line at DD after I held the door for her. I pick up stranger’s littered trash, regularly. I recycle my own, for that matter. I am a routine, smiling stranger to all passersby.
Forty two minutes. Are you kidding me? This is still happening here? Going to burst. The tension in my shoulders is slithering down my spine. The seams are nearing rupture, I’m sure of it. Skin is crawling like a hundred million flesh eating cargo train spider monkeys are gnawing me raw from the insides out.
Just as my delirious mind was urging me to open the door and pencil roll senselessly out onto the vacant pavement, I see moto man kick start his bike.
Good riddance, you filthy train. Go on your no good, slinky way.
I fly over the tracks and curse your name.