I left early this morning, after literally falling out of bed. The dream I had been having before the fall was about skydiving and I left home with a big bruise on my forehead, having leaped out of the plane and immediately assumed the Delta position for maximum horizontal speed in freefall. My bedside table has a very sharp corner.
I then followed a rather disorganized wandering pattern as I could not decide where I wanted to take pictures. The fact that I had forgotten to bring the camera might have had something to do with it. It’s funny how the greatest opportunities always appear out of an impossibility.
Some things we plan, we sit and we invent and we plot and cook up; others are works of inspiration, of poetry; and it was this genius hand that pushed me up the* Burnaby hill and around the campus and down to the tracks by the Inlet. I wanted to see some trains.
So I walked for hours along the old train tracks, not noticing that vegetation had overgrown them and hence the only train that would ever come my way on those was the phantom train of my wildest dreams. Before I was a skydiver.
I could no longer tell how long I had been out there. It somehow seemed like days had gone by, with their nights and chilly sunrises; with their long, lonely hours of gray skies and no one around. Surprised and a little dazed, I looked down at my pants and wondered why the mud on my knees was so dry. And why I was so thirsty that I could have drank for an hour from a waterfall of iced water without even catching a breath.
But at least I must have finally found my camera because I had it in my hand. It was a strange camera with a huge spotlight on top of it but that didn’t phase me. I would come in handy to better record the train approaching. Because at last, there is a train headed my way.
I can hear it blowing its whistle repeatedly, a long and whining cry in the night that has fallen, insistent and threatening. The tracks are as cold as the icy water I won’t drink, leading from here to infinity where they seem to bond, as all things in life eventually become one.
When I stepped over the second track, long ago it seems now, I wasn’t paying attention to anything else but filming the moon that shone through a thick layer of clouds. So my foot went down the gap between the metal rail and the rocks without even a hesitation, locking itself underneath the structure with the help of my whole body weight. Then the ankle probably broke and a sharp, nearly unbearable pain made it clear I wouldn’t pry my leg out of the trap’s iron grip.
It’s been a long text message I know, and I am grateful for the emailing capability of my portable phone. But now I am going to send this because the battery is dying and so will I soon, for the train’s headlight is growing brighter…
[* Inspired by Boris Vian’s "Les fourmis"
and with the brief help of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – "(I’ll Love You) Till the End of the World"]