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Kymberlie Ingalls is native to the Bay Area in California. She is a pioneer in blogging, having self-published online since 1997. Her style is loose, experimental, and a journey in stream of consciousness. Works include personal essay, prose, short fictional stories, and a memoir in progress. Thank you for taking a moment of your time to visit. Beware of the occasional falling opinions. For editing services: http://www.rainfallpress.com/

Monday, December 18, 2017

Circle Bound Trains

I can’t tell you where I’m goin’, not sure of where I’ve been.  I know I must keep travelin’ til my road comes to an end…
There is a price to be paid in living a life.

Last week I went for a train ride.  Alan asked me why.  “You don’t do trains.”  He is correct, I don’t do trains. 

Personal challenge.” was my reply.  It was something I’d been slowly building to, an experience I wanted to share with my friend Laurent.  He and I share a fondness for trains – mine so long as I’m not on one – and now every time I hear the lonely whistle as they pass by each day, I think of him.  As opposite happens often in my life, we each hear that sound through different emotions.  The trains excite him and bring joy, whereas they leave me melancholy. 

Laurent and I have spent time together walking in parks or downtowns, taking in the crisp fall air that soon gave way to bright tinsel and ornamented trees.  We have these long remarkable talks about love, food, philosophy and the state of the world.  He has filled a void in me at a time that I find myself losing friends again to death or to life or wherever it is that lost friends go. 

I can’t help but wonder; just what is my addiction that I find myself in a constant state of recovery?

It’s been an isolated holiday season this year.  I haven’t had the heart to give to things I ordinarily do.  Charity and kindness has been a struggle – not because I feel callous but because I feel I’ve not much left to give.  A year ago, I nearly died.  Being allergic to the sun had caught up to me at last.  A seemingly benign blister beneath my breast contracted a deadly infection and it had to be carved out with a scalpel.  My life going forward will be a vulnerable one as I am apparently susceptible now to such things.
It was months to recover and I’m not all the way there yet.  In times of weakness, I tend to overcompensate.  To make up for missed work, I am now buried in a perpetually unfinished to do list.  My emotions swing one extreme to another as I strive to find balance.  I place myself at the foot of personal challenges because an uneasy step in a different direction is still less frightening than standing still. 

As we boarded the train for an hour’s ride across the bay, I tried not to give in to my innocuous thoughts of train derailment.  I take a lot of chiding in regard to my dislike of planes and trains.  I am quoted statistics and levied with common sense while my control issues go unheard.  It isn’t about logic at all.  It is about the whirlwind that can at any moment become a tornado.  “Trains derail, you know.”  I said.  Laurent smiled at me, as if he had the superpower to keep it from happening.
It was on the way home that things went awry – my disabilities often have me feeling like an elephant in a cage.  Everyone else bounded up the narrow steps to the seats above while I stared in dismay and cursed my leg for failing me. One thing falls into another and my embarrassment triggered my anxiety of being in such close quarters with too many strangers with no means of escape.  I survived the return but now Laurent had seen a side of me that I wasn’t ready to show.  But it was an experience that I wanted to share with him.  It seems that’s how this friendship has gone from the beginning.  I can’t undo it, so best to embrace it and move on. 

I’ve been noticing a slow increase in my sun blisters.  Remnants of the adventures and talks and struggling to walk because sitting is for sissies.  Sometimes I have the strong need to just be normal.  I watch the scars multiply and hold at bay the paranoia that any one of them could become deadly in any moment, which is silly because their visibility shows everyone just how abnormal I really am.
Last night I couldn’t sleep as I felt in the dark at the beginnings of a blister beneath my breast.  I called my husband in to look, the graveness in his eyes reflected my own words.  “I’m scared.” 

This morning I woke up to the headline that a passenger train with 75 passengers had derailed on to a busy freeway.  “But I could show you the statistics…” Laurent replied in a text when I linked him the story. 
"Not so much the point.” I sighed.

“I’m confused.”
“Yes, I know.”

There is a price to be paid in living a life, with metaphorical coins to pay our fare.  Do I sit alone and not venture into the world?  Or live each day without the fear of what could kill me?  We think of all the ways we might go but it’s often the unexpected that claims us in the end. 
Life has its toll, and sometimes it derails.  We need to climb on board anyway because it’s the only way to get anywhere. 

Like a poor wayfaring stranger that they speak about in song I’m just a weary pilgrim trying to find what feels like home.