Saturday, March 23, 2013

Trifextra: Hopelessness



Unfortunately this entry is inspired by an incident this past Monday involving someone who lived 13 houses down the street from me. In just under three weeks, we have had three such occurrences encompassing only a two-mile stretch of tracks on the Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF) train line, which carries commuters twenty miles from the city to the western suburbs. This is one man’s story…

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They’ll call it selfish rebellion.

The truth...

hopelessness and desperation.

Timing the whistle precisely, 

I sprinted alongside rails in the freezing rain.

Cigarette lit. 

I stepped onto the tracks.

You’re only nine

but

please remember me.

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This weekend’s Trifextra challenge is revisiting a prompt we've done before.  They are giving us three words and asking us to add another 33 to them to make a complete 36-word response.  We may use the words in any order you choose.

The three words are:

remember
rain
rebellion

53 comments:

  1. Beautiful words to mark such a tragedy.

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    1. Thank you Susan. At 3:00pm, there were a lot of witnesses.

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  2. oh, Gina (I seem to say that a lot). I do like this.
    :(

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    1. It's sad for his wife and son. Thank you for your appreciation.

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  3. "You're only nine but please remember me..." Oh, jeez. So, so sad. Nicely written, Gina.

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    1. Horrifically tragic. The young boy goes to the grade school, same place my kids went, 5 houses away from me. Thank you.

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  4. This is heartbreaking. We had a woman in town throw herself in front of the train a couple of weeks ago. She left behind 3 kids under 12. So sad.

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    1. We live one block up and two streets over from the train station. Town is full of commuters. It's just strange that this particular line has had so many in such a short time. One accident, this one and one still being investigated.

      A mom with three kids? Absolutely tragic!

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  5. There is so much pain in this. So powerful.

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    1. It's shocking. I have to drive by their house everyday to get anywhere. A constant reminder to everyone.

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  6. Wow, that will make you pause. So sad and well done.

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    1. It does and it was tough to see the crossing tented and shut down in town. It's awful! And thank you.

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  7. wow, this happened close to you? It's painful but well written. excellent work, Gina.

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    1. Yes. The allure of towns such as ours is the proximity to the train lines. I live 13 houses up from the tracks (with a large condo/storefront building muffling noise at the end of my street). It's a quick 4 minute walk for me. For him? About 90 seconds home to crossing. Thanks Lance.

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  8. Expressed so precisely. Great work

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  9. There are train tracks a block from my house. I hear and see trains passing all the time...Now I'll be thinking about this for a while when I hear them. )': Still, this is a very moving piece.

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    1. Same. The existence of the tracks and trains is a way of life here. I don't even hear them anymore really (sometimes at night in the summer when a freight train comes through) and there is such a thing as being caught on the wrong side of the tracks when you're in a pinch for time. This has been on my mind a lot lately especially the little one left behind. Thanks for your comment, Draug.

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    1. It truly is sad. We can't phathom the such feelings of hopelessness. Or setting such a deliberate intention.

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  11. Nine? Wow :-( I guess the age doesn't matter but still. :-(

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    1. Yes. A 42 year old father left a wife and nine year old child last Monday. It's sad to think about.

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  12. How tragic. Well done the way you related this to the memory of the boy. It hits closer to home. How can there be so many accidents? Even if one or two are suicides, it still seems like an extraordinary number.

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    1. One was a woman who was let off on the "wrong" side of the tracks by her husband, She was in a hurry and he told her NOT to walk around the crossing gates which were down. She did anyway with her train already stopped at the station. With three tracks, there is always another one coming especially during commuting times of day. She never saw it behind her train. The other guy was a similar situation. Got OFF and cut around the front of his train, again gates down, and a train coming from the same direction on the middle train hit him. That's the other one that's sort of suspicious. Sometimes I've heard people talking about "copycats".

      Thanks lumdog. I think about how this boy's life is forever changed.

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  13. Good writing is felt. I feel this very deeply.

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    1. As heartbreaking as this is when I think about his wife and child, your comment made my day!

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  14. Awful & so unnecessary-suicide is a coward's choice,especially if one is leaving behind a family!Accidents however occur more due to negligence & being over smart!In India,we have many unmanned level crossings-many without gates-so people foolishly think they can outrun a machine & are taken down-worse is if they live but without their legs or limbs-a burden forever!And we have a spate of accidents due to people using cellphones,not hearing or paying attention to traffic!Suicides by young kids rise during exams or results as here education-rather marks are hyped-sad end tp young lives due to parental/societal pressure to excel!A fabulous piece highlighting both the occurrences Gina:-)

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    1. Suicide is an awful, awful thing and something with which I have extremely close (secondhand) experience with. It sucks. There are no two ways about it. We have no concept of the desperation a person feels. That said, to be that hopeless and unable to see what it would do to your family and loved ones, I can't get there.

      There are many times during commuting hours when a police officer is standing by the gates issuing $500 tickets if you cross while gates are down. I can tell you that an accident like this shuts down the tracks for hours and it is a complete mess. Making things all the sadder.

      I can completely understand what you're saying about the climate in India.

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  15. So sorry for what you and your community are dealing with, Gina. This was a lovely tribute.

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    1. It's the family I pray for and I believe the service is today. Thanks, Kymm.

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  16. I hate that any child should grow up with that memory of his father. This was very powerfully written, Gina!

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    1. Exactly. We live in a very small community. Everyone knows everything. And things like this are remembered for a very long time. I just hope he and his mother are able to put there lives back together in some way. Thank you, Tina.

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  17. I just came home from visiting my 12 year old for spring break who I just lost custody of this year ... losing her has been so devastating to me, my wife and our other two girls that this is the first ime I've even been able to write about it. This is exactly why we owe it to ourselves and our reders to share our authentic selves in our writing.Thanks Girl you got my vote :)

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    1. Devastating, Sam! I am so sorry for the pain you and your family must be experiencing. I can't imagine how it feels. And your two other girls unable to be with their sister? Heartbreaking.

      Maybe it will help you to write about it. Not necessarily to share with anyone other than yourself or your family. I appreciate you sharing here because I know how difficult that must be.

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  18. This is killing me. Why???? Why?????? Why?????

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    1. Oh, Christie. I know some of the details. Nothing, I mean NOTHING, makes enough sense here. He was out of a job for two years (OK), his wife had to work (OK) but then what? We still don't get it. Sad. Sad. Sad.

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  19. This piece made me go shivery cold. When stuff boils over who knows how we react. I always wonder how I would face the worst. I seem to handle little upsets so terribly. But you owe it to your kids to tighten your belts and trudge along. You owe it to them to expect light at the long end of the tunnel.

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    1. That's exactly the point, Sini. We don't know how we would react in the "right" or wrong set of circumstances. How dark do we go/get? I handle most things, even pretty darn big things, extremely well which means I haven't really, really been tested (even though I think I have been!). But you are absolutely correct that we owe it to our kids to be there for them. No matter what. Life sucks sometimes but we have no choice but to deal with it. For them.

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  20. I read this on Saturday night and thought about it all night..and day yesterday.
    your writing was beautiful, haunting..the matter, Unbelievable, sad, heart wrenching.

    I have been in such dark places...but never there, my prayer is I never am, no matter how bad I feel.

    HUGS.

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    1. I've never been there and I am happy you haven't either. I went through a bout of what I would call intensely deep depression for a few weeks last summer after my accident. It was pitiful, I was pitiful, and I threw myself a big pity party for a few weeks. It passed. Thank God! But if it would have lasted, I don't know what I would have done.

      Thanks as always for sharing with me. XO

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  21. Living in Manhattan for so long, I have heard so many stories of people throwing themselves in front of oncoming subway cars, and it never, ever gets less heartbreaking.

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