I can see the faint moonlight through the overcast sky. It shines blue on the rusty steel of my cage, my refuge.
A dampness in the air penetrates my blanket and numbs my skin. My nose has caught the worst of it and it spreads to my cheeks
My ears burn beneath my cap. I look out through a small hole by my head. The night is still and the moon seems stronger in it's
reflection on the water. I become aware of the rhythmic sway of the rail car where I'm perched. The corresponding, steely percussion.
The tracks are right along a river now, The water is silently keeping pace with me and I am certain I can see it behaving faintly
as if it were a woman dancing in a blue gown. My breath mixes with the night air and condenses on my beard. little icicles forming
and holding my whiskers in place. I pull my feet in beneath me and try to imagine a face for the nymph in the river.
blinding silver streaks of moonlight become jewels about her neck, a pin in her hair. a glimmer in her eye.
It warms me to see a smile. Notably the first in many months. I swallow the lump that rises in my throat as
I think of the last time I smiled... A naive girl, No more than 8. She handed me a flower from her hair as I sat
beneath my jacket in the rain. She fought the gentle tug from her mothers gloved hands, and stretched her arm
to mine. She dropped it at my feet and for a moment I thought she would never forgive herself.
I scooped it up and held it tenderly, pressing the white blossom lightly to my face. I smiled. She turned and embraced her
mothers arms as they walked away. I have yearned for a like experience in the months since. It's like watching ghosts
I sit in silence and observe as people walk through each other, oblivious. their eyes are hollow. When they drop change in my palm I see a glint
but they catch themselves and the spark is snuffed out. they compensate with tightened lips and a nod as they move on in the throng of passerby.
Keep your change. Just lend me a smile.
The tears on my face are freezing but I dare not shift to dry my face. In a few moments it will crumble off.
The train is curving around to cross over the river. The car rocks hard against the wind. I take one last look into the water as it passes beneath me. I let my head down and sleep begins to set in.