The Boxcar

Never arrive

Roman Newell
The Interstitial

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Image by Steve from Pixabay.

I miss it. Walking railroad tracks across the Earth. Railroad tracks to archaeological digs in North Africa. To far off lands and unexplored caves. To middle mountains unexplored by men. Home to goblins. I miss the feeling of adventure at seven. When it got real bad I ran away. Hopped in the sun like a bowl of butter. Vanished forever.

Now that I’m thirty-seven and able to run away, I don’t. I guess that’s part of life. A Frank O’Hara take on manhood. We spend our entire childhoods fantasizing then grow up to realize fantasies are thin coats of paint on rust.

As a boy I read The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. About four orphaned children who made a home in an abandoned boxcar. I adored that story. Except I didn’t have any brothers or sisters. That was okay. Being alone made me hopeful. Being afraid made me creative.

I could befriend anyone and not care who they were or what they’d done. Just wanted to not be alone. Wanted them to not be alone. When you see someone shivering you gotta warm em up. Didn’t matter where we were going as long as we never arrived. The idea of destination was thrilling, but the journey was the point.

Magical pilgrimages. Even on cold nights when crickets clicked and dark sky felt like Pacific Ocean. Even with no blankets and one can of soup I couldn’t open with…

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Roman Newell
The Interstitial

Busy working on my novel, 20XX. I also talk about the writing journey on Substack. romannewell.substack.com.