Sunday, December 23, 2012

Epilogue


“Sir, can I help you?” I snap out of my reverie. I'm standing in the lower level of the Los Angeles Metro Rail System. I had leaned my head against the cool wall of this cave-like place, momentarily disoriented by the very confusing map of routes and timetables and and prices and the events of the past few days. I have spent nearly all my money, now; the motel last night was a surprise expense, and surprisingly expensive. In front of me there is a tall, slender young man. For some reason he is wearing lightweight cotton gloves.  He is soft spoken, earnest-looking and right now, yeah, I do need help.

But I am a little confused, and a bit wary.

“I have to get to the airport," I say. “I have a flight at ten p.m.”

“Oh, you have plenty of time,” he says. “Here, I'll show you.” He walks over to the huge map, backlit and confusing. With his finger, he traces out the routes I must take, and the changes I must make to get to the airport.

I take a pen and my scrap of notebook paper from my bag and write down his directions. It is all color coded and seems easy enough. Red, Blue, Green, and Shuttle. I turn to the young guy.

"Thank you. What are you doing, Christian work?” He smiles.

“You're welcome. And I am a Christian, but actually, I get paid to do this.” I look around. This vast cavern is empty except for him and me. “After they got the trains going, they found out that the maps and the ticket machines were not all that intuitive. So they hired us to stand down here helping people sort things out.”

“So you spend your days down here under the ground helping lost people find their way home?”

He smiles. He has a very handsome face. His voice is calm and comforting and it is easy to envision him in a white clerical collar and a black suit. Suddenly, I am near tears.

“Something like that.” He turns and points. “That's your gate over there. Just follow the signs and you'll be fine. Good luck.” He turns and walks away a few steps to where a couple of European-looking kids have approached with loaded bicycles. I guess they let you take bicycles on the train. I look at the bicycles for a moment. He starts talking to them, then pauses. He turns back and looks at me. The two kids with the bicycles look at me also.  They all smile.  I'm between them and the map.  I'm finished here and in the way.

I shoulder my bag and head through the gate.  I'm going home, now.

Whispering Pines Trailer Park and Confessional
#99

13 comments:

  1. TJ,

    Damn. Nothing to say.

    Peace to the restless souls everywhere. Especially you and yours.

    Steve Z

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    1. Do you mean me and my restless soul, or me and my fractured family? In either case, Steve, thank you. And while I infused this series with heightened drama and a certain sense of tortured reality, it is after all just another story of familial conflict. Me and Beau will work it out, we always do. In fact, I would be surprised if he is not laughing about it now over coffees with his buds in Laurel Canyon.

      And I offer a left-handed apology to my readers for dragging them through my attempt at writing serious writing: I had to see how you guys would take it...don't worry, it won't happen again. Not here, anyway.

      Swampboy! Merry Christmas!

      tj

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  2. Great short story writing does not have to be fiction. This is great.

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    1. Thank you so much, Miss. I have to admit, I'm glad it is over. Not the Father-Son stuff...that is eternal. Just this series. It took some doing.

      tj

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  3. Finding your way home. I often pray that prayer for all of us.
    Yer Pal
    Zig

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    1. It is an elusive place indeed, Zig, and yet we all end up there eventually.

      tj

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  4. I enjoyed the series. I can only imagine the work that was put into getting this all typed up. Mental work and the actual time and effort to sit at your computer and bang this out. I have many thoughts and ideas for blog subjects that pop into my head, but the discipline to make it to my blog eludes me.

    Sometimes a visit to past places whether they are physical visits or dusty corners of the soul makes for going home a real appreciated reality check. Many times that is the whole purpose of a bike ride for me. To do a little dusting soul-wise.

    Anyway. thanks for the entertainment! The price was certainly fair for reading your story!!
    Jim

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    2. Let me try again. My first reply got garbled by incorrect button pushing.

      I was saying that in my case my writing is less discipline than psychic survival. The day I got back from LA I was asked to turn in my keys to the trailer park and then summarily fired. Again. So lately, I have time on my hands.

      If I still had a position of responsibility like you do, Jim, there would be no Trailer Park Cyclist. For starters, I wouldn't live here. This is a kind of refugee camp. My experience here, this episode of my life has been pretty rewarding as far as the TPC goes but I suspect that it is drawing to a close.

      But yeah, it takes a certain discipline, but not really. I don't have a choice. If I'm not typing here, I'm writing notes on the back of scraps of paper. I wake up writing sentences in my head. I literally dream that I am reading or writing.

      Having spent my life in the trades it marked me for a kind of weirdo, but I always got the job done and once in awhile I would stumble across a kindred spirit. You guys have been that for me, kindred spirits, it has made the last couple years survivable and even fun.

      And I thank you for that.

      tj

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  5. Tim Joe,
    Thank you for telling us about your trip, your history, and your feelings. It makes me want to share more. The way you described it, I could feel like I was there in CA with all the family history (as if it were my own). So many things you touched on ring true with me. Estrangement in the family, strained relationships, tempers, tip toeing around each other to maintain the peace... I have felt all those things, done them, and felt the repercussions of them. You are deep thinking man Tim Joe. I'm so glad I found your blog because my day is enriched by reading it.

    I'm glad you're back to riding your bike and recentering yourself.

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    Replies
    1. Angie, here I am months later and just now seeing your kind words. Thank you. tj

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