Sunday, December 26, 2004

Night Train

Azuquequa Train Station Outskirts of MadridAtocha to Azuquequa de Henares

The C1 on the Guadalajara track doesn’t offer much in the way of a panoramic view: the endless hills of dried hay of Castilla La Mancha, the brick apartment buildings and graffiti painted on walls surrounding industrial parks and warehouses. But when it rains, the smell of wet earth permeates the air, infused with the lavender, rosemary that grows wild everywhere -- not just from the rich siena-colored soil -- but also from cracks in sidewalks, bridges and concrete walls.

Lights shine through apartment windows of this brick and wire monotony that surrounds Madrid. Each light represents a life, someone sitting still, someone already home, while the train takes others to the same stillness. As the train approaches Guadalajara, its final destination, the carriage becomes emptier and emptier, my soul more drained. The light inside the train is too bright, the darkness outside inviting. I see the edge of my reflection on the window and that of the empty seats around me. I think of the many silent conversations I’ve had with empty chairs, at restaurants, in trains, of all the souls that have traveled on this very same path. I am going into the night and so are they, the dwellers of brick buildings. The last train home.

In Memoriam March 11, 2004 Victims of Terrorism

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