The countryside moving beside him in a blur, hills and rivers and town going past the window and never coming back. Music from his headphones starting up, the notes of the guitar creating a sound that was isolated, unaccompanied, the only thing in the room. Hubbub, in the distance, on the outskirts past Jonathan's ears. Conversations from the people in other carriages, asking their friends what they were going to do once they made it to their stop. People talking, stating out loud how boring it was being in this train, how they just couldn't wait until they were finally able to get off it. Maybe Jonathan was wrong (Jonathan was probably wrong) but it didn't really matter. The noise was what it was. The train tracks, the white noise, the music, the conversation. They stayed as the countryside moved. They remained in his mind as the hills and rivers and towns disappeared, as the train pushed Jonathan away from Gatlinburg and towards Chattanooga.
And this was it, he supposed.
The calm between the storms.
That one little piece of respite he got in-between the sadness of saying goodbye and the dread of saying hello. Even though he was used to both, at this point, he still liked it. It gave him reprieve. Relaxation.
Time to prepare for the next six months or so.
He sighed, before hearing the voice over the intercom. Before hearing the drone of the announcer be muffled by the song on his iPod changing. Seemed like a stop was next. Anything more specific he wasn't particularly sure about. He took the headphones out. Hurriedly got them tangled as he tried to catch the last part of the announcement.
Just sorta sat there for a second, unsure of what to do.
"Huh," the man on the other side of his carriage said, grunting. "You're leaving too?" He was
big. Beefy. If it weren't for the suit, the fact that he'd had a pretty long conversation on his phone about stocks a few stops ago, Jonathan would have pegged him as a bodybuilder rather than a businessman. He was white, tanned - his skin had an almost red tint to it - with short red hair. His eyes were
a colour Jonathan couldn't tell, at this distance, but they were slightly intent. It wasn't really a glare, by any means - Jonathan didn't really know why someone would get annoyed at him fumbling around - but his stare was pressing. Telling Jonathan to answer his question.
...Well, best not to keep him waiting. He shrugged.
"I dunno," Jonathan said, responding. "I, um, didn't get to properly hear what the lady said just then."
"We're stopping at Chattanooga. You'll be alone if you don't get off here."
Well. He supposed that the calm period was going to end sooner or later.
yeah. That's my stop."
"Alright," the other man said, standing up. "I'll help you get your stuff down."
"Uh, thanks," Jonathan said, scratching his head. To tell you the truth he
sorta wanted to do it himself, but he wasn't one to deny someone's help, especially when it was given so quickly. He stood up. Supposed he'd give Beefy Guy a little assistance. As he hoisted down the first suitcase - his own, it looked like - Jonathan moved in. Got a hold on it when Beefy Guy had gotten it closer to the ground. There was a brief nod, in response to that. A brief expression of 'thanks' from Beefy Guy. Jonathan nodded, smiled, and moved away, putting Beefy Guy's suitcase onto the floor of the carriage. The actions repeated. Beefy Guy brought Jonathan's suitcase down, Jonathan got his hands by the end, and Beefy Guy stepped down, moving to his own.
"You here on holiday or somethin'?" Beefy Guy asked.
"Longer than a holiday," Jonathan replied, shaking his head. "I'm, um, moving here."
"You?" Jonathan asked.
"Business," Beefy Guy said. "Gotta stay here for a couple'a days. Do some stuff. Ideally it gets me paid."
"Alright," Jonathan said, as he stepped into the hallway of the train carriage, dragging his suitcase behind him. "Good luck, I guess."
"Thanks," Beefy Guy said. "You too."
By the time Jonathan thought of asking what that meant, Beefy Guy was gone, walking down the hallway of the train carriage. Taking one last look at him, Jonathan began to walk the other way, heading to the train door with less people near it.
The reason why he was unsure of. It just felt smarter. It just felt right. Maybe it could be practice for the next six months, he supposed. If he could avoid people here, he could avoid people in Chattanooga, maybe. He didn't know, honestly. Just felt like a good idea, was all, so he moved. Dragged his suitcase down to the end of the carriage, where the train door laid. Stood there, for a bit, waiting for the train to stop, for the train door to open. Although Chattanooga was apparently the next stop, that
honestly didn't give Jonathan much to go off. It still could take a bit to get there. Sometimes 'the next stop' was inexplicably forty minutes away from the previous station, so
He went to his iPod. Paused the song that had been playing for the last two minutes or so. Stood near the door, tried to sort through his mind for what to do when he reached Chattanooga when-
His body jerked forward as the train around him began to slow. The announcer spoke slow, in her familiar monotone. They were at the station. Chattanooga was only a few seconds away.
There was a brief moment where he stood there, holding his suitcase, unsure of what to do. A brief moment like all the others he'd had, every time before when those train doors were about to open. Even then, though, it was
kinda hard for him to remember that the feeling existed. The memories still came up, but always when it was too late. Always when he would be feeling the feeling again. Always when he'd have no way to properly prepare for it.
The train stopped. The doors opened. He felt people brush past him heading off, heading on the train. He heard the whistle of the man outside, on the platform. He heard the drone of the announcer, saying that they were now at Chattanooga. He saw the people outside, the crowd at the platform.
His new parent was supposed to be in there.
And once he found her - pretty sure it was a her - they'd go. She'd take him home, and the cycle would begin anew.
And once it was over, he'd be here again. On the train, in between the state of goodbye and hello. On the train, forgetting about how he never knew what to do at the door.
He was the only one still at the door, at this point. Everyone else had done their business. Soon, the door would close, and the train would move on.
...Move on, leaving the place Jonathan was supposed to be behind him if he didn't move.
And there was a sense of
something, in that. A choice that wasn't even legitimate emerging in his mind. As stupid as it was, as pointless as it would be, the idea of just staying on the train kept presenting itself, as if it was something he could actually do. He could just
he didn't know, stay on the train forever? Not have to go to another town? Just like, live his life there and somehow not get arrested?
...It was better to just step forward. Get off the train. Begin the cycle again.
All he needed to do was that.
He closed his eyes.
Stepped forward, off the train, onto the pavement of the train station. His suitcase was behind him. Heavy. Dragging. There, regardless.
He paused, for a second, before opening his eyes. Before seeing the station. Before seeing the woman, moving towards him, waving her arms in the air.
Time to say hello, he supposed.
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- Joined: September 17th, 2014, 5:36 am
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