The Train

The Train

I sat on a bench, nervously looking down at my hands. It was almost time. He had been gone so long, it was hard to even remember what he looked like. Those memories dying fast, like his fellow soldiers. Yet somehow he had survived. He had made it through all the gunfire, explosions, and other horrors of war. He defied the odds.

And he was coming home. I looked up again, hoping to see a train in the distance, but there was nothing but the track as far as my eyes could see. The wind picked up, piercing my cheeks, and it was then that I noticed for the first time that tears were flowing down my face. I was ecstatic, knowing that now for the first time in over two years I would see him.

I looked again, but the train still hadn’t come. I fidgeted with fingers, crossing them over each other, wringing them together. My heart burned with desire, love, happiness. Yet also in worry, in nervousness. Does he still feel the same way about me? I had asked myself over a dozen times. It had been so long…

I shook my head vigorously, pushing away the thoughts. No, of course he still cares about you…you’re in love. But I wasn’t convinced, so I played with my hands all the more, even going so far as to remove my gloves then put them on again, repeating that over and over. Because it was better than thinking.

But it didn’t help. It seemed like our own life had been a train, moving so quickly yet stopping all of a sudden at times, letting more people or things into or out of our lives. Our marriage let in both our families together. My first miscarriage removed a part of our lives. My second pregnancy, this one healthy, opened the door for another member of the family. But then his leaving for the war did the opposite. It was again just two of us at home, me and our child. Our beautiful, cheerful child who had to live his first year and a half with no father.

But it was all worth it. I knew the reason why he had left, and I agreed with it. Fighting for one’s country is one of the best things someone can do. And someone has to keep us at home safe.

Yet…

I buried my face in my hands, wiping the tears on my gloves. It had been hard – but knowing he was out there, not just fighting for no reason, but fighting for a purpose – was enough for me. And I loved him for that.

My heart began to burn with joy again as I realized that he was finally coming home. The tears came again, but I just let them flow as more and more came: the train that was bringing him home was approaching.

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