When I awoke she was there again, the woman with the blue scarf. She was standing by the compartment door, gazing out at the passing countryside, the rolling hills, the fertile valleys. I had seen her before, at the market buying flowers, outside a cafe hailing a taxi, and here inside this very train. I have spoken to her; I have kissed her; I have been in love with her for thousands of years.
She waits for me and I go to her.
Her eyes are blue, like the scarf, the color of oceans and skies and everything permanent in this world.
We do not say anything. I lean toward her, into her embrace; we close our eyes, and we kiss. In this instant I am perfect. Each mistake I’ve made is amended. Every sorrow slips away like the passing hills outside the train. My sense of self, too, is slipping away. My soul detaches from my body. It is unsettling, dizzying, thrilling.
Time smears out before us. It slows, then stops altogether.
The next station.
We have arrived, and she must leave. She disembarks from the train, and I watch her walk across the platform, disappear into the station house. Her movements are pure and fluid, as if moving required no effort at all.
She does not look back. She never looks back.
The train lurches forward, and I place my hand upon the cold glass. Slowly, the train gathers momentum, until we settle once again into steady rhythms, the hypnotic sway of the passenger cars, the comforting grind of wheel against rail. The sun slips below the horizon and the sky darkens, first purple then black. The next station. One by one the passengers disembark, until I am the only person left. At the final stop, the conductor waits for me. He is patient, as always. The conductor nods politely as I step down from the train onto the empty, dark platform.
And softly, ever so gently, it begins to rain.
Nominated for a XXXVI Pushcart Prize, Pat Pujolas has been published in Outside Writers, Connotation Press, Heartlands Today, and Writer’s Digest. He’s also credited with two episodes of MTV’s animated series “3 South.” Pujolas lives in Akron, Ohio. He is the author of the novel, Jimmy Lagowski Saves The World, a book which is a dear favorite of Jumping Blue Gods editor, Jennifer.
Yet another heartfelt thank you to Kevin J. Weir for allowing us to feature his beautiful animated gifs with our publications. He can be found here: http://kevinjweir.com/index.php?/notads/the-flux-machine/