Waiting for the Train


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       Waiting for the Train

By Anne K. Edwards


The train's late. How am I going to get home on time?  I've been waiting for an hour already. The schedule said it came at ten forty-five.  Why is it so late?

Did I leave a note for Mother? Yes, I'm sure I did.  It's hard to remember sometimes. Did I tell her why I'm going home? Did I tell her I have to meet Sonny and Kelly?  Maybe. Will she understand why I left so abruptly without waiting to say goodbye?

It's very hard to be away from people you love. Mother will understand. She always says how sad she is about being away from Father.  I guess that's why she drinks so much. She must do it to forget.

Although I don't know why she says she misses Father. She was always gone when he was home. Before he left, she used to go away for days at a time with new friends she met at those places she went to.

I don't think Mother will care if I'm gone. The only time we talk is when we argue over the money she takes out of my purse.  Now she'll have to find another way to get her booze.  She's all used up and no man in his right mind will spend the night with her.

Is that the train I hear?  No, just a truck rumbling over the tracks.  I wish it would get here.

I'm not the only one waiting for it. That man with the little boy is too. The little boy finally stopped crying. I feel sorry for him. He doesn't want to get on the train, but his dad will make him. I wonder if they travel together a lot.

And look at that girl with the suitcase and backpack. She look likes a college kid. What is she doing here at this time of night?  Shouldn't she be studying in her dorm room? Well, maybe not. She might not be a college kid at all. Or she might have just quit.

That's always been fun, making up stories about strangers. They never know about the new life you give them and you never have to worry about them finding out if you make them do bad things.

Bad things... Mother said I was always doing bad things when I was a kid. She says she got so tired of me being a brat. I guess that was why I missed so much school. She wouldn't let me out of the closet under the stairs and she didn't want the teachers to see the cuts on my legs and arms from her switches.

I hate my mother.  I used to say that all the time.  It was true. She was so mean to me. I wished she'd let me live with Aunt Janie after Father left, but, no, she needed the money she got from the state for my support. They called themselves social workers who were supposed to care about kids. But they never cared about me. They let me live with Mother and paid her for it.

I still hate my mother. That's why I'm leaving now.  I was eighteen yesterday and they can't make me go home any more. She can't send the cops after me or the childrens' service people either.  I'm free to do what I want.

I'm not going to work and support Mother either. She went down to the state and applied for aid and they asked me how much money I made. They said they'd take part of it to give to Mother.  So I quit my job. Then I told them I wasn't working any more.  That's one thing they can't do, force me to get a job.  So they'll have to give her money without me. 

That's slavery, I think. That's what it is alright. Trying to make me support a person who locked me in a closet and beat me all the time.  Why should I support her? Why? That proves nobody cares about kids.

I think I hear the train coming. That humming must be it.  Yes, that's it. About time.

I'm going to stand here on the edge of the track so I can see it coming.  It's coming awfully slow, but it is really big.

I've never been on a train. I wonder if those seats are comfortable.  I remember watching one go by once and the people were asleep.  They looked comfortable.

Sure makes a lot of noise. Look how high up the driver is. I wonder if he ever looks down to see the people. I wonder if he ever looks at the tracks. He probably can't see in the dark.  It's a good thing I'm wearing black.  He won't see me when I jump...