Waiting for the Train / by Cyle Talley

He is waiting for the train. He has never waited for the train. He has always come careening onto the platform like a cannonball; his shoes untied, his tie lolling out from his pocket, his hat not fully on his head, at least one document sticking out from his briefcase, and had to practically lunge through the slowly closing doors to board the train and make it to the office on time. He has learned, when careening, to hold his briefcase in front of him as it once got stuck between the doors and set off the alarm, which stopped the train. What an ordeal that was. 

How strange to be waiting, and to have even had the time to purchase a cup of coffee in the station. So this is what it's like to be early: you sip your coffee from a paper cup and intermittently look at your wristwatch and look around at your fellow commuters. What's the line? "How many goodly creatures are there here! How beauteous mankind is! Oh brave new world, That has such people in it!" Something like that. Not much use for Shakespeare in modern life these days, but he still keeps the copy of The Tempest in his briefcase as he had carried it in the war. It's become a talisman. He can't help himself. 

But back to waiting. He is still waiting for the train. He has finished his coffee. He has put the paper cup in his briefcase to put in the garbage when he arrives at the office. He looks at his wristwatch: 8:07. Goodness. Still another eight minutes! What will he do with himself? What do other people do with themselves? He decides that the anticipation of the coming train is much worse than the panic of being late to its arrival. The latter is a rush; a prickly feeling on the skin; a wild, wide-eyed wind of adrenaline. The former is a solid stone that sours a person's stomach and makes it difficult to think, to prepare, and even to move.

He does not care for waiting.