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(Prose) The Train Station

The train station was quite unlike anything I had ever seen before. Tall sandstone pillars held up an elegantly painted ceiling, with beautiful stained-glass mosaics on each side. Colorful light filtered in through the windows, illuminating the whole station. People bustled around me, all knowing what train they were about to get on, and exactly where that train would take them. I sat alone, on a bench with my baggage strewn around me.

I’m a bit worried about what will happen when they all leave. See, I came to the train station with my friends because they all have trains to catch, but I haven’t got my ticket yet. Most people are born with their ticket, but not me. I’ve lived eighteen years without my ticket, and plan on living another eighteen more. A thought crosses my mind of sneaking onto a train and following it wherever it takes me. It’s a fun thought, but I’m not spontaneous enough for it.

My friend Lily decides to break the silence. The words she says are supposed to make me feel better, but they don’t.

“It’s normal not to have a ticket yet,” she says kindly. Everyone says that it’s perfectly fine that I don’t have a ticket , but all those people have their tickets, so I take their advice with a grain of salt. Correction, a pound of salt. Lily fiddles with her ticket in her pale hands and thankfully, does not try to tell me I’m valid for not having a ticket again. “Just don’t let it get to you, okay?”

“I won’t,” I say with a smile, but I’m afraid it already has gotten to me.

The train station fills with steam as a whistle blows. Lily’s train has arrived. A beautiful white engine with a gleaming red cross on the front. Lily bows goodbye to me and hops aboard, the train promptly taking off and speeding into this distance.

“I’m going to the coast,” says a girl with long black hair who has found a seat next to me. She is dressed in a tropical shirt that is much too big for her and some pants that are much too small for her. “Where are you going?”

“I don’t have my ticket yet,” I say, smiling although I would much rather frown. “It’s okay though. It should come any minute.”

“Would you like to come with me?” says the girl, looking concerned. “I could probably sneak you on board.”

“I would not,” I say, truthfully. “The coast life isn’t for me.” The girl looks offended and storms off, to hop on a bright blue train that will also soon chug off into the sunset.

Just when I think I have a moment alone, a chubby man with pink hair shows up next to me, holding a big golden ticket. His face is stuck in a big dumb smile, and his legs are literally shaking with excitement. He shows me his golden ticket and claps.

“I’m going to LA!” he almost yells. “I am so excited! My parents said I could never go to LA! They were so wrong! Are you going to LA?”

“I actually haven’t received my ticket yet,” I say for what feels like the millionth time that day.

“Oh,” frowns the man with pink hair. “Well. Would you like me to buy you a ticket?”

“I would not. It has to come to me itself. That’s how these things work.”

“I bought mine,” says the man, looking puzzled. “Is that not normal? I never received one in the mail.”

“Of course it’s not normal,” I say sharply. “It is one hundred percent not normal. The tickets are supposed to come to you. That’s how it works. That’s how they set it up.” I worry that I’ve come off a bit harsher than I intended too.

The man with pink hair looks hurt but does not say anything. He sets off and gets on a black train that (you guessed it), promptly speeds off into the distance. Just like that, I’m left alone.

I watch as parents part with their children who hop on trains and head off into their lives. I wish my parents had come with me, although I’m not going anywhere. If my parents had come with me, we would’ve had the awkward discussion of the fact I don’t know what I’m doing with my life. And no one wants to have that discussion. My friends have all left on trains and I am still sitting here on this bench like a dope.

“Your ticket will come one day,” I reassure myself, getting comfortable on the bench.

I keep telling myself that. I lean back on my seat and watch the rest of the world go by. A tall woman is taking her cat with her on an emerald green train. A confident looking man in a suit and tie hops on a train made of pure gold. A bald man, accompanied by three children hops on a train that looks like it was colored in with Crayola crayons.

Your ticket will come one day.

I watch as a girl my age argues with her parents about her ticket. It appears they want her to get on the one Lily got on, but she wants to get on the one made of pure gold. It is a very passionate argument. Spit flies angrily between their mouths as they shout, hardly regarding that they are in a very public setting.

Your ticket will come one day.

A train rushes by the platform in front of me. As it leaves I see behind it a bench just like mine, except I’m not on it. In my place is a decaying human skeleton, sitting just like I am.

Your ticket will come one day.

And so I sit there on that bench, reassuring myself that things will be okay. Over and over again, I make sure I’m confident in myself. I’ll never stop saying it. If I stop saying it, then the inevitability of me ending up just like the skeleton across the platform would become all too real.

Reyna Ace is a sixteen year old writer who lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. A lot of her ideas come from her fun, but sometimes overwhelming life and she uses art as a way to help her process. When she's not creating, she loves to spend time with friends and practice skateboarding.

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