Thursday, April 7, 2011

Bathroom Monologue: R.R. Crossing

Looking through a windshield and a hundred windows rushing by, moving too rapidly to make out any faces. You look for a girl who isn’t looking for you anymore, and catch a glance at someone with her hair color staring at something in her hands. Her phone? Then the train carries her to her Full Ride. Red lights cease flashing and the bars come up. You are now safe to cross the railroad and drive to a permanently quieter house.

Maybe she was on her phone. Maybe she’ll have left a message. Maybe she’s calling you right now while she travels several hundred miles an hour towards dorm rooms, late nights and the lies of boys becoming men.

You check your cell just in case. No message, no hum of the vibration setting.

You press the gas pedal and roll across the tracks. Time to go put the things she missed in boxes. Time enough to catch the news. It would be nice for Lester Holt to announce, “Bright young woman’s train arrives safely. World welcomes her. Promises to retain virginity until Nobel is won.”

What twit said you couldn’t go home again? Didn’t he have a mother who had to? You wonder if he went to university.


  1. Nothing calls for so many leaps of faith as being a parent.

    Great piece, John.

  2. Surreal with with many layers. Love this.

  3. Having a daughter in college, I can totally relate to this one!

  4. Sad & lonely enough to make Hank Sr. Cry.

  5. The trappings of motherhood are rarely glamorous. It bothers me to see the amount of stories about happy mothers and their perfect children with their fairytale lives. I like how you captured the truth of it, the other bit some people simply roll their eyes at in ignorance. Well done, sir.

  6. "late nights and the lies of boys becoming men" Great job, John.

  7. At first I thought you were writing from the vantage point of a boyfriend whose girl has left him behind to go to university and that just about broke my heart. You rarely write with such unabashed tenderness regarding man/woman relationships. I imagined you behind the wheel, watching the train go by, and I literally had a lump in my throat.
    Then I kept reading and realized it was a mom and somehow it seemed less heartbreaking, more acceptable for some reason. It's almost expected that our children will move on without us, although it does tear us up inside. Still, rather that than thinking of our John waiting for the train to go by.

    Yes, yes, I know it's all fiction... but for the most part I always imagine the author as the storyteller, especially when it's first-person.

  8. Nice piece. I liked the wishful news flash declaring the safe journey.

    Good stuff.


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