On the Amtrak platform in Texarkana, a stout woman with a marine haircut and a nose stud is saying goodbye to a willowy, exotic woman with olive skin and long, straight black hair. I can’t hear what they’re saying, but the short-haired woman’s face is suffused with tenderness, or with the desire for tenderness, or maybe just pleading.

The long-haired woman’s face says clearly that she can stand about two more minutes of this kind of thing before she starts saying what she really thinks. It’s a good thing the train is coming.

Short-hair pulls long-hair in for a hug, and long-hair does not quite resist. Short-hair squeezes her eyes shut, like a mother saying goodbye to her only child. The look is at odds with her jean jacket, tank top, and ratty cargo pants. It is the most pathetic thing in the world.

Short-hair and I board two separate train cars. I can’t see long-hair as we pull away from the station, but I can imagine her sigh of relief as the tension lifts. Maybe she brushes down her clothes, briskly, to remove the residue of desperation.

I can imagine short-hair, too, sitting in her blue vinyl seat and staring out the window as the station recedes; seeing not the scenery but her memories of the weekend, searching each conversation for evidence of intimacy, and finding just enough to keep false hope alive.

Saving it up for the catastrophe later.

8 Comments on “Texarkana”

  1. P.J. says:

    Wow. This made me sad.

    It also makes me pity the human condition.

    It truly makes me wonder what God thinks of our often disappointing, sometimes absurd, frequently painful humanity.

    1. Searcheress says:

      I think He finds it beautiful most of the time.:)

  2. BeeBee says:

    I have family there. NO one just goes to Texarkana! Were you on the way to someplace else?
    That was a touching piece you wrote. I’m praying for them both.

    1. Hah, yes, this is a memory from about 2006, when I was passing through on my way to visit friends in Dallas and elsewhere.

  3. Searcheress says:

    1. Touching story.
    2. Joey, happy New Year! I know we don’t know each other, but you really matter in my net life:). I think you are clever, warm, conpassionate and excellent writer.
    3. P.J., happy New Year to you! Let 2014. give you peace, stability and joy of life!

    1. P.J. says:

      Thank you, Searcheress! That’s so thoughtful of you. (Wow, there are some great people drawn to this site.)

      I am hopeful for a better 2014 — I believe I will give antidepressants a try (it feels not-so-great to get to the point where you realize that prayer isn’t enough, but I suppose that may be a reality for some of life’s various circumstances).

      In any event, thank you for thinking of me, and I’d like to wish you a very happy and healthy 2014, too.

      1. Searcheress says:

        I will try to remember you in my daily prayers every day in 2014. I will probably skip some days, I can be lost in my space from time to time, but I will try. I hope you’ll feel it. Though I am not maybe the best lawyer in front of Big Boss these days:)))
        Yes, you are one of my New Year resolution:)
        Sorry, Steve, for making this reply personal:) But, it is only way for contact with P.J.

        1. Not at all! If either of you would like to let the other know your email address, feel free to email me and I will put you in touch.

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