Angels on the Train

We were many. An overflowing, summer-stuffed, unpracticed group. Even those of us who weren’t novice train-goers were intimidated by the crowd, made nervous by the excess: would I really have a seat?
He was kind, the conductor who did not view his job as an opportunity to inflict minor cruelty on those more ignorant—and dependent—than he. As we anxiously asked about proper tickets and checking luggage and trying to line up in the correct place so we’d be out of the way of his tram, he re-assured us, “You’re doing it right. You did a good job.”
“He’s always here, always like that,” a sister traveler said when I noted the man’s kindness.
A miracle, I thought, when it could have so easily gone a different way.
*
I knew I wanted a coffee, but when I stalled on what to eat, the patient cafe attendant offered a list of appropriate breakfast food. As my bagel warmed in the microwave, he asked, “Are you okay? You seem sad.”
“I am,” I said, tearing up: I am fine until someone is nice to me.
“Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you,” he replied.
Later, when I’d done some good work on my writing and watched the trees whiz by the train window in an arc of green, I returned to the clerk to ask for a “regular Pepsi.”
“How is your trip going?” he asked.
“Better,” I said.
“I can tell,” he replied. “It shows in your face.”
Much improved, this time I did not cry.
*
I have never been an adherent to the “angels in your path” theory. People are just people. But those working on the train today were kind people. And that may be all angels are.

here’s to creative synthesis . . .

angels, God, grief, train

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