My Story Begins

Sitting alone on a balmy morning can be a lonesome and contemplative time for a person. As you sit yourself down on the cool stone bench of the platform, waiting for your train to arrive, your mind wanders to places only visited when your head is clear. You think about random moments from yesterday, maybe last week. You guess about tomorrow, create a picture of your life three months from now. You worry about money and work.

Sometimes, when the train is late, you have time to consider friendships and family. That person you wish you could see just one more time. But it isn't until you get on your train, sit next to a stranger and gaze out at the houses & buildings rushing past you, that you really start to think about what you want out of life.

Sometimes (if you're lucky) the sun hits you right when you exit the train and take the final steps toward your destination. You think to yourself, "aaah. Things aren't so bad." Other times you're greeted with a blast of dry wind that tousles your hair. After you spent 28 minutes on it that morning.

And every now and then it rains. Rain doesn't mean to make the world feel cold and solemn. Rain just happens and there's not a damn thing you can do to stop it. What you do with it, however, is entirely up to you. Some folks like it. Others find it completely irritating. I tend to ignore it. I prefer to blame the clouds.

They creep across the pale blue sky, blocking out the sunlight and 72 degrees that usually come along for the ride. Their grayscale wisps fill the sky with a layer of dirty marshmallows and people look up in fear. Suddenly everyone is looking for their umbrella or a newspaper that they can use to keep their heads dry. And if you look closely, their graceful journey across the sky mirrors the shuffle of the people on the platform as they find their way to the buss or subway that will deliver them to work.

But few people study the clouds as they scuttle throughout Union Station. Because people rarely (if ever) look up in this town. It's probably why people look at me funny when I'm out in a place like this. I'm always looking up. And maybe one day I'll figure out what I'm looking for.

* * *
The hydraulic doors hissed open, daring the commuter to venture into the soupy mist that hung in the air surrounding Union Station's train platforms. I stepped out onto the concrete island and glanced at the throng of communters pouring down the stairs to the tunnel that ran beneath the tracks. In one direction lay the buses and escalators to the subway. In the other, the station proper in all its California Deco glory. In my youth I would have headed for the subway on one of my many journeys to Long Beach, but today my destination was far closer. It was just outside the station entrance.

This is the beginning of my story.

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