by T.J. Tekulve
Whether outside or in, it follows. The consistent rumble, the echoing hornâ€”the train.Â Tracks sprawl through the whole city like a web of nerves; they are essentially inescapable.
Dissonant whistles, simultaneously low and high. Thunderous weight screeching along, metal against metal and wood. Whenever one sound proclaims itself, the other follows. They are one and the same. The sounds of the train.
Youâ€™re on your way somewhere when you come across a railroad crossing. The warning lights are flashing, the red-and-white striped barricades already beginning to lower themselves. Itâ€™s a warning of the mass that is coming.
The massive engine roars in front of you, squawking and squeaking on account of its friction. Itâ€™s got somewhere to be. As do you, but youâ€™re not in control of this situation. Tanks and containers of various sizes zoom past your eyes. Some display works of unprofessional art, deemed vandalism by some, social expression by others. It is of little consequence as the cars keep rushing by, the horn now becoming a distant representation of what it once was.
The train represents many things: the past, the present, and the future of commerce, of progress, of economic change. The train reflects these as it passes by your idling car.Â And then itâ€™s gone. The barriers lift, and youâ€™re both on your separate ways.