by Veronika Vendetta

The summer air has thinned and warmed enough that sounds travel quicker to your ear and heart.  I can hear the trains from my bedroom window now. Their horns reminiscent of wolves howling at the moon, beckoning me to be swept away from the ordinary, the mundane. They’re a call to action, an invitation to rejoin the pack, never letting me forget a time when falling asleep counting stars was commonplace and standing on the tops of cars after smoking peyote and screaming quotes from Macbeth to the starry-eyed gods was commonplace.

Rugged and worn boot leather crunching and displacing the gravel surrounding the railroad ties as I’d run and hop on my next adventure and the general grittiness and dirt of the lifestyle that seeped into every functioning part of my body whisper sweetly to me while I continue my efforts to just stay put. To just be somewhere for a while. To not be one of the countless friends and acquaintances I’ve lost on the rails to overdoses, greasing the track, and muggings. I strain to remember their faces but time has kindly been sweeping away the details for me for years now. They’ve effortlessly become shadows of the ghosts themselves.

To live for years never knowing where your next meal comes from or what state you’ll be in tomorrow when you wake up or if someone’s going to jump you while you sleep eats at you after a while. I got antsy, I got suspicious, and I had become the crazy hobo that I used to look out for when I ran away from home more than a decade ago and hopped my first train.

But the trains? They don’t ever let me forget,  blaring their horns at night when they pass by my house, almost as if to tell me that they’re waiting and that, sooner or later, they’ll carry me far away from here. A promise to start my life over not for the first time and, somewhat fatefully, not for the last.

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