Tabatha Deans

Bringing Integrity to the Written Word

RIDING THE RAILS 2
The train was crowded this morning as I was making a transfer from visiting family members, working my way toward my sister’s house. My own duffle bag, full of nearly all the clothes I own, was wedged between my legs, my shoulder bag full of my computer and books slung over my shoulder and wedged between myself and the girl sitting next to me. The tall black man got on the train and took the seat opposite us, squeezing his long legs into the small space between us, so that our knees occasionally touched when the train lurched forward or swayed side to side. He was dressed all in black and had several tattoos on his neck, one of which I think said Katherine. His forearms were lined with tattoos as well, and the back of each finger had a cryptic letter inked upon it. He sat down without looking at us, and I noticed his haggard face was marred with scars that are typical of drug users. I hugged my bag closer and kept my eyes directed out the window, in an effort to avoid looking directly at the rather scary man.

To my surprise he pulled out a thick book and began reading voraciously. I could see from the open page and the large print that it was the book Frankenstein, and he was on chapter 69, nearly finished with it. He read seriously and from the way he turned the pages it seemed that he was not a fast reader, but maybe he was and he was just savoring every word. He was obviously sucked into the make-believe world the book provided him, and it was several stops before he looked up from his reading with a look of being lost; perhaps he had been so engrossed that he’d missed his stop. He went back to reading as more people piled onto the train, including four men who crammed their bicycles into the small space that technically is only supposed to hold two, then stood beside them, effectively blocking the entrance for anyone to get on or off the train there. We swayed along the tracks in silence, the big man returning to his reading until we reached the next stop. He looked up from his book again, then quickly closed it shut, obviously frustrated that he was so close to the end yet had to quit reading and get off the train. He did indeed get off the train, but not because it was his stop. He stood up and excused his way through the gentlemen with their bicycles, and stepped off the train only long enough to help a young mother who was struggling to hoist her small stroller onto the crowded train, while holding what looked to be about an 8 month old child in her arms. The tall stranger reached through the mess of bikes and men, who were doing nothing to make boarding the train easier for the struggling mom, and grabbed the stroller from the surprised woman. He used his big shoulders to keep the train doors from closing while she thankfully accepted his hand as he hauled her up the steps and through the mess, then deposited her and her child in the very seat he had been riding in. She thanked him kindly, he smiled and said “no problem,” then muscled himself amongst the crowd of men and bikes, where he once again opened his book and lost himself in another world. You’d think I would be past all stages of judging others, but alas, I was once again rudely reminded not to judge a book by its cover.

TRUE LOVE
I’ve had the unexpected pleasure of discovering true love here within the confines of the city that I have been unable to appreciate since my return. I’ve always known the love of a family, both as I was growing up and again in the truly unconditional form when I was raising Jessica. But in a world that reserves true love for the beautiful, sane, and above average people, which results in divorce/breaking up in more than half of all couples, I’ve been wondering if meeting my soulmate might truly be an impossible goal.

I’m staying with my sister Debbie and her boys Dylan and James. They live in the center of the Wasatch Front in an apartment complex, in a part of town that is considered sketchy. Crackheads, near-deads and assorted other groups of people who would not be considered successful, pretty or even remotely capable of surviving in the real world due to addictions, afflictions and bad genes live here. The apartment has adjoining porches out front, and children and neighbors have been out all day playing, having a yard sale and socializing.

Last night Debbie’s grandson Coby, nearly 3, was at home with us while his mother Brooke was working the night shift at iHop. He and the neighbor girl, Unique, were doing flips on the couch and running wild. His little friend was a pretty girl, with a pixie face and a shy smile that revealed several silver caps on her teeth. They played late into the night, with her parents popping in every few minutes to check on their little girl and visit for a few minutes. Mrs. R. has dark hair and dark eyes. Her skin looks good even though she doesn’t wear make-up, and her dark curly hair was pulled back in a bun. She looks perpetually happy, her lips drawn back into a constant grin, revealing brown, uneven and prominently protruding teeth. When she spoke her words came out only as vowels in a sound that could be described as warbling. I didn’t understand a word she said,but I could tell she was talking about her daughter and I could see the love and the pride in her eyes. She sat down and played with the little ones with us, and although I never did understand what she was saying it didn’t matter as we all laughed and played in the middle of the apartment floor.

Mr. R, apparently deciding it was getting late, came to retrieve his girls, and within two minutes of walking in the door he was on the floor with us. He was dressed in jeans and a T-shirt, with a baseball cap on. When he spoke it was slowly and with an impediment, and I could see in his eyes that he was battling mentally to keep up with the conversation. We talked about school starting and about children in general, with Debbie offering support and advice in raising a child. Mr. and Mrs. R soaked up the advice, and after a nice visit they scooped up their tired daughter and took her home to bed.

Their minds are broken. Their bodies are broken. But their hearts are perfect. They will never realize the dream of having unfathomable wealth. They will never realize great fame and fortune. Quite honestly, they probably will never realize more than the tiny apartment and neighborhood they live in. But the look of love in their eyes when they look at each other and their child, is pure love. It’s true love. By society’s standards they’ve been discarded, none of them worthy of the love that society says is real. But it is the realest form of love there is. Each loving the other for exactly what they are.

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September 5, 2010 - Posted by | Uncategorized

2 Comments »

  1. Nice, Tabatha. I enjoyed your blogs. Keep on writing. Hope you are doing well.

    Comment by mark eddington | September 16, 2010 | Reply

  2. Reminds me a whole lot of Aunt Julie and uncle Karl! Love trumps all!

    Comment by Timmy | September 16, 2010 | Reply


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