The Westbound Train 🚉 Pt. 1

In the corner of the bed I can see that I’ve kicked off the sheets again. Even though its May the days have been getting hotter and hotter, and it already feels like July. Every morning begins like this, I wake up hot and uncomfortable and sure enough the sheets are always kicked away in the night. Now that I think about it, I should just leave them off. I have a few minutes before the alarm goes off so I just lay there, staring at the ceiling fan. I don’t know why I even bother with it; all it does is spread around the heat. I can see the glisten of sweat on my forearm. As I go to wipe it away the alarm goes off. Carefully I have to navigate the space from my bed to the dresser. The floor is littered with clothes and books, I press the off button and flip the light switch. It’s 6:30 on Saturday May 13th and I don’t want to be awake. I sit on the corner of my bed with my head in my hands. I can feel the ends of my hair soaked in sweat. When I look up and see the suit hanging on the back of my door. I just stare at it, navy blue with brown buttons, a blue and white striped shirt and a navy tie. I spent weeks picking out the right combination and now all I can think about is how uncomfortable I’ll be.

When I walk into the bathroom I’m greeted by a very disheveled looking me. My eyes are heavy and red, aching for some more sleep. My beard has seen better days, there’s some grey and its begging for a trim. I turn on the water in the shower and quickly trim my horrendous beard. I can see strands of black and grey hairs cover the sink. By the time I’m done the mirror has fogged up. I could wipe away the steam to check what I look like but lately all it’s done is disappoint me. In the shower I let the warm water run over my body. I turn on the little water proof radio and listen to the banter of the radio hosts discussing last nights’ game. It soon becomes background noise. I watch the water fall and swirl down the drain, its hypnotizing and suddenly I find myself thinking about Nora. I think about the last time I saw her. She was with Jamie, her fiancé. I remember Nora saw me eating lunch on a patio downtown and came up to say hello. She was wearing a black shirt, jean shorts, a black baseball cap and of course her white Chuck Taylors. I don’t know why I’m remembering this; I don’t know why I’m thinking about any of this. Or maybe I do and I don’t want to admit it. I remember seeing her coming up to me, Jamie right behind her. They came in and I shook his hand and gave her a brief hug. Not like the ones I used to give her. The long ones where she’d hold on for a second longer.

“Did you get the invite?” She was referring to the wedding initiation they’d sent out a few weeks earlier. Of course I got it, it was burning a hole in my bag as we spoke that day. I put it in my bag with plans of RSVPing during lunch. I thought about pulling the card out and doing it right then and there. But the truth is, it took me a week to even open the letter. It took me another week to work up the courage to read it.

“Yeah I got it, I’ve been a little busy at work. But I have it and just haven’t gotten a chance to mail it back. I’ll get it done today when I get back to the office.” It was a lie, one of the many I’ve told to her over the years but I didn’t feel guilty about this one. If I close my eyes I can still see the little half smile she gave me. I can also see the way she held onto Jamie’s hand as they said their goodbyes. That seemed like forever ago and maybe I thought I’d forgotten about it but here I am in the shower thinking about the one of the most painful memories I have. I can feel the knot in my stomach and the lump in my throat, I turn to face the wall, the water spraying onto my shoulder. Both my fists hit the green tiles, and the radio noise emerges from the background. Its time to get out of the shower, the train to Hamilton leaves in an hour and I’m notoriously slow when it comes to changing in the morning.