All this time

Imagine you’re on a train

You get out in the station

And the man you’re with says to wait here

So you do, you sit down and wait

He didn’t say how long, but that’s okay.

You have faith, you trust him.

So you wait, five minutes,

Ten, half an hour.

You start to wonder where he is.

You look around the station and there’s

No sign of him.

But you’re not worried yet, so you keep waiting.

Then it’s an hour, then two.

Now you’re upset,

And a little worried.

Where has he gone? Is he coming back for you?

Or do you have to make it on your own?

Two hours turns into a day.

You’ve gone by now to get food

And when you came back he still wasn’t there.

A day turns into a week and you’ve left the station

Gone to take a shower and walk around, stretch your legs

And when you go back, he still isn’t there.

You decide to wait for a while as a week turns into a month.

You spend whole days there, right where he left you

Never getting on another train, still just waiting.

No one ever asks why,

But sometimes it feels like they do.

Like people who you see coming and going from work during the week

Are judging you for still waiting.

A month turns into six.

You’re still waiting.

You don’t feel judged anymore,

As though maybe anyone who would have judged you

Just expects this place you’re in

To be the rest of your life, like this is all there is.

You’ve thought that yourself.

“Will I wait here forever?”

Six months turns into a year.

You’ve made friends where you are,

Other people are waiting too.

You commiserate and laugh together

At the absurdity of your situation, the judgment of others.

Sometimes some get picked up.

Sometimes it’s hard not to feel jealous when that happens

Even though you know in your head that their time has nothing to do with yours

And you should be happy for them.

And you are, a little bit.

But also jealous.

A year turns into two.

By now you spend more time away from the train station than in it.

You’ve left a sign and how to contact you.

Sometimes you wonder if you’ve missed him,

If he’s come back and you weren’t there and he just kept going.

But no, you think, he’d call you.

You know he won’t leave you.

You don’t know how you know that, but you do.

Two years turns into five.

You’ve rented an apartment near the station

And opened a coffee shop outside it, catering to commuters.

The people who you used to think judged you stop by and smile

And you talk about how crazy the station has become over the years.

You make friends and watch the cars go by.

Five years turns into ten.

You’ve married a commuter you met at the shop

And have two kids, one more on the way.

Now you live in a condo a few blocks over.

The shop has grown, the business is doing well.

Ten years turns into twenty.

The station is renovated and your shop has to change locations.

You’re afraid for a bit,

But they smile and tell you so many people demanded you stay there

That they’re building you a new shop right in the entryway.

Then twenty years is thirty-five,

The shop is three stories tall,

And the last time you checked in at the station was around the time

Your youngest went off to college.

Then fifty.

You’re alone, now.

Retired, one of your kids has taken over the shop.

You walk back into the station.

The man is waiting there.

At first you’re angry.

He never came back.

He left you there.

But he smiles and says I left you right where I wanted you.

And you know that’s true.

Then he asks what have you done with the time you were given.

And then everything makes sense,

And you’re afraid at first, because you never left

And you wasted so much time

And then you remember his words

“Right where I wanted you”

Right where I wanted you”

You were right, he says, I made you

And you know he is and there is nothing else

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