The Train Speaks

When I was small, every summer, I used to visit my maternal grandmother in the countryside with my mother. We would take a bullet train to a nearby city, then from there, take a local train to get to the closet station. One of the family members would meet us at the station and drive us back home. That was the routine.

This local train ride was always a source of my wonder. A cream white train with a blue line in the middle would arrive in the platform, usually after a long wait, and my mother and I would settle on the rose-pink seating along with the local folks.

In my hometown, I had taken the subway from time to time, but never an over-ground train. My excitement reached its peak when the train finally started moving. As it picked up the speed, a rhythmic sound started rumbling from below.

“That’s a funny sound,” I told my mother, “why does it do that?”

“It’s because of the gaps on the railway track,” she replied with a smile, appearing to be enjoying herself. “Isn’t that a nice sound? Feel its rhythm!”

The train shook gently each time it made the rhythmic sound, and so did my body. Soon, my body was filled with that rhythm.

Suddenly, the lights went off.

“O-oh,” I turned to my mother, who now had a wide grin on her face.

“Yup, this is where the lights always go out,” the way she explained even carried a sense of pride. “I don’t know why, but it’s been like this since when I was young!”

A few seconds later, the lights came back. How fascinating!

As I watched the passing scenery of the vast green rice fields outside, letting my body soak in the rhythmic movement of the train, I would tell myself I loved riding a train and wished I could do that more often.