a.lone.man

A lone man stands on a train platform. He knows not where he is going. He knows not who he is, only that the tag inside the bowler hat in his hand reads ‘Fransisco.’ His narrow fingers trace the embroidered gold script. Fransisco.

Days of confusion lie behind him and divisive rails stretch before him, splitting the surrounding vineyards nearly in two. The heat-havocked rails are seen to dance on the horizon line: where normally they would converge in a demure point, today they squiggle into the blue sky in a mad finale. All manner of squinting his eyes to bring the horizon line into proper focus is conducted in vain on this deep summer day.

The timetable tells him that, in 13 minutes time, those rails would take him to Seville. He inhales a deep breath of old wood, of dew burned off rusted metal and of loneliness. He cannot recall the date but suspects it to be Sunday, that loneliest day of the week. His guts twist. Has he eaten? He cannot be sure. The corners of his mind are rounded and nothing sticks; his memory as desolate as the platform upon which he waits. He wishes for a smell – any smell aside from dust, heat and metal. Fransisco.

He paces and invents a life for himself, this Fransisco. Discarded tickets make a taupe noise beneath his feet. He hears nothing and thinks only of a gorgeous Spanish wife hanging laundry in sunny Seville, her black hair giving her away against the white-on-white linens. He raises a smooth palm against his face noticing that his hand, hair, face and air are all the same temperature, indistinguishable from one another, in this cruel sensory depravation afternoon.

He bows under the weight of too many questions for too many days. The rails must hold an answer; those robust, parallel lines. If one follows the rails far enough, one finds, over and over again, that their crossing is merely an illusion, perpetrated by distance and a lack of long-range vision. The reliable rails will carry him to the truth. Once he sees her, he will remember. Of that he feels certain.

A white plume in the distance indicates that nearly 13 minutes have passed and he hears the doppler-distant rhythmic chug of the approaching train. The rails start to shudder. A breeze lopes in ahead of the train and, despite an easy demeanor, it removes the bowler from his slim fingers with great ambition, depositing the hat neatly on the track, where it rolls haphazardly, bouncing from rail to rail, as if pulled magnetically toward the iron dance on the heat wave horizon.

For one searing second, he contemplates throwing himself off the platform in pursuit of the hat, directly in the path of the oncoming train. Then the breeze brings on the smell of lavender. He boards the train and chases his identity towards Seville. She is waiting. She must be waiting.

a.lone.man

houxlamour

Joined December 2007

  • Artist
    Notes
  • Artwork Comments 1

Tags

short story

Artwork Comments

  • ossieBee
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

10% off

for joining the Redbubble mailing list

Receive exclusive deals and awesome artist news and content right to your inbox. Free for your convenience.