standing at the station

It’s dark when I wait for the train each morning. Every day there’s a man in a fluorescent orange shirt with steel tip boots and long denim shorts who arrives shortly after me.

He ritualistically steps to the edge of the platform and turns up toward the textured navy sky. One day I casually glanced in this direction, hoping we might share a secret. As I stepped back with disappointment, he arrived.

His toes creep past the yellow line, the one you’re always told not to cross. He feels my eyes on him and strengthens his face. ‘I can’t see her,’ he tells me. My own deluded stress liquefies inside of our broken heart. The sky is so dark, I think to myself. He’ll never find her there.

I reach for his calloused hand. Nothing surprises him anymore. As we walk along the cracked platform past the ticket collector booth, I take caution leading him because his pleading gaze is locked on the grey-bearded sky. I feel his sigh on the back of my neck. His breath smells like rain.

We pass the small platform building and I squeeze the man’s fingers and nod my chin to the right. ‘What about there?’ I ask.

The warm pink sun is faintly tinting streaks of creamy blue sky. He lets go of my hand and reaches toward a magenta-gold splash. His icicle eyes shimmer in the reflection of what’s rising.

Sometimes you have to look behind you.