The Train

The Train

A Story by The Warrior Poet

This is inspired by a true story - I got a job in New Jersey and instead of coming with me, my wife divorced me and took my boys. That's the only true part of this, the rest is "derived" :)


The Train


     The wind was quick and sharp.  Like a nervous cat, it whipped about this way and that before settling down to lick its paws, briefly, and then was up and about once more.  The grey, overcast sky glared down with a natural fluorescence that sharpened the edges of everything and dulled the colors.  A chill held sway - one that nipped at the ears and neck and stiffened the face a little.  It was an ordinary winter day �" not too cold, but not too comfortable, either.

     One of her hands embraced that of a young boy, whose tears streaked a pale and lightly freckled face.  The other rested softly on the shoulder of an older, stronger boy, whose face held only disappointment and anger.  In spite of the tears, the younger boy strived to hold his face straight and strong, fighting back the pain and trying not to cry �" just like his daddy had asked.  The older boy couldn’t decide whether to be upset or angry so he just held onto both.  He always had.

     She was a young woman.  Her eyes glared a brilliant blue-grey that reflected the winter glare without warming it.  Though the eyes were sharp, and were framed in aging youth, they belied a depth of wisdom.  It was the kind of wisdom that is purchased with experience and hardship.  She knew the pain of the boys, but accepted it, pushed it off as necessary, and blamed it on him.  Her stance was a façade of pride �" her shoulders slumped slightly knowing of the trials and tribulations ahead.  She tried to be proud and strong, but had never been able to manage it.  Humble always came through in the end just like the damn wind slipping through holes of her sweater.  She also knew pain and not just for the boys but for herself.  For not long ago, though it seemed it now, she had loved and been loved and was happy.  Once again, the blame rests on him.

     The train pulled out slowly at first and the younger boy’s pride broke and he’s knees weakened and he fell into crying.  He didn’t want his daddy to leave without him.  He needed his daddy.  The older boy got more confused about his emotions but despair was winning.  With his brother’s need, he reached out to anger and told him “Knock it off,” And finding a glint in the dark, “He’s coming back soon so stop crying.”  He was mean sometimes, but in the end, he would be there when his little brother needed him.  This was one of those times.  The weakness of his brother bothered him, but for now, he understood.

     The young woman cried.  The tears slipped from the empty blue-grey wishing wells and down across her cheeks, salty in the corners of her mouth, and bitter in her heart �" he didn’t deserve to be cried for, she was thinking �" he had left them.  She looked down at the ground where the torn-up pieces of the train tickets he had given her were.  “Come with me,” He had said, “I choose us.”  Two of the pieces were clutched tightly in the youngest boy’s hand.  He had tried so desperately to put them back together but even his tears could mend the rift.

     She gathered her strength and tried to turn the boys away, but neither would move.  And the older boy angrily wiped a tear away and swallowed hard �" damn it all, he would NOT cry, but couldn’t stay true to that and damn if another tear didn’t follow.  The train hadn’t left sight yet.  Maybe he wouldn’t really leave them.  But as the train faded, the hope did too.  Daddy had left them there.  She was angry with him for both going and for her deciding not to; it was entirely his fault, of course.  There were many reasons for her decision to not get on the train; nevertheless, her boys may never understand.  “I don’t love you enough,” Her heart had said.  But when she had spoken, it came out cloaked within “It’s different now.”

     As they turned to leave, she had to pick up her youngest for his crying took his strength, and he couldn’t walk.  And he cried into her shoulder.  After all, her little daddy’s boy was still momma’s baby.  And she cried with him.  The older boy was strong.  He kicked the small pile of ripped up tickets into the wind and watched them dance across the train station.

     And there, on the train, crying silently, feeling weak down to the bone, a young man drifted in his mind to a time of happiness.  He had loved and been loved.  Where had it all gone wrong?  He already missed his boys.  He missed the wisdom and strength of the oldest boy and the wit and child-like charm of his baby.  Oh how he had wanted to please them and make them happy.  And he turned in his heart to face away from her.  She had taken his boys away and sent him alone to face the world.  She could have at least come with him for their sake…  He took a piece of paper from his pocket and read a poem that the older boy had written.  It was scribbled down on a crumpled half-torn sheet of paper that he had found it lying under the table next to a broken pencil.  It said this:


Let me tell you what I think of divorce…

It’s a lost last ball on a 9-hole course,

It’s a no umbrella, rain clouds coming, day.

One more sock on…

One more shoe…

Doing what I have to do,

F**k it all,

I’ll go out with the other kids and play.


     But in his stoic solitude, his resolve grew firm.  He would finish the mission and return home to his boys.  Everything done would be for them.  He would see his baby laugh again and he would see the oldest boy play football again.  What a football player he was… And one day he would go back and be there for them.  Not for her, though - She had said it was different…    "Well," He said out loud.  "It is now."



David L. Carmichael

The Warrior Poet

February 1st, 2002


© 2011 The Warrior Poet

Author's Note

The Warrior Poet
It's all about the imagery and empathy. Feel the cold air, see the tears and feel the sadness

My Review

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You have hit all the emotions that people feel when a divorce is taking place. the anger, loneliness and hurt. You have made your characters personalities clear and my heart hurts for the little boy but deeply aches for the older boy. You made me feel angry at the man for leaving. I love the added poem. It adds depth to the older boy and this piece. I think the woman is foolish and I feel her pain and understand the stubbornness she is holding onto.

Posted 9 Years Ago

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Added on April 9, 2011
Last Updated on April 9, 2011


The Warrior Poet
The Warrior Poet


I am a combat veteran paratrooper and I've been writing since 1984. I was chosen by my English teacher as good candidate for Creative Writing and had to get a waiver to get into the class because my .. more..