Red Lights on a Rainy Night

MacKenzie is trying hard to keep herself together as she drives home down a familiar back road. Her hands are white knuckled as she grips her steering wheel. It’s windy, unusually dark and raining. Normally it exhilarates her. Makes her senses come alive, but tonight all she feels is fear. Her heart is racing as she drives down the familiar road. It is slick with rain and the wind is blowing the autumn leaves across it. It makes driving hazardous and difficult to see the center line. Up ahead she sees red flashing lights of the emergency railroad signals.  The signals are flashing their crimson warning as the arms descend and come to rest. She presses the brake and stops in front of the signal. The lights from it become smeared as the wipers swipe her windshield.

She screams, “fuck this shit!”, as she slams her hands on the steering wheel.

“Why can’t I stop this endless spiral of fear, shame, anxiety and pain?”, she exclaims to herself.

She is so damn angry. The red emergency signals are flashing, and the arms are still lowered. It’s not raining anymore, though the wind is high. And the autumn leave are flying everywhere. She puts her car in park and cranks up the radio. She hears a familiar song. A new one by P!nk. It’s become her new favorite. MacKenzie opens her door and runs to the tracks. The train is still a good distance away.  But she can see the lights. Hear the warning of its horn. She steps in the middle of the tracks as the wind whips in her hair. She feels a few drops of rain on her cheeks and then her heart begins to slow. A train is coming at her and her anxiety begins to wain.

“Why is that God?”, she screams into the night.

“Why have you fucked me up like this? Why am I so fucking backwards?”, she cries as she throws her middle fingers into the air.

She hears the train as it come closer.  The engine, the wheels churning on the tracks, and the horn. The engineer keeps blaring the horn, but she doesn’t move. MacKenzie finally feels peace. With the wind in her hair, rain on her face, music blaring on the radio, and the red lights blinking all around her. The train is so close she can see the face of the engineer and his fear. He puts on the brakes, and sparks fly from beneath the wheels and their contact with the tracks. She doesn’t move. He honks his horn one last time.

She smiles, and sings “Blow me, one last kiss”.

Then just like that, it’s over. She’s gone. She has peace.

The Joy of Walking in Wheat

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Photo credit: Steph Ellis

With her eyes to the Heavens, she looks at the clouds. She shields her eyes from the sun with the back of her hand, then lowers it. She breaks off a piece of wheat, pinches the stalk in her teeth, and grins. She starts walking through the field and feels the softness of the stalks on her hands, her fingers and her bare legs. She is clad in a short cotton dress. The tiny cilia at the tops of the wheat tickle her fingertips. The wind caresses her face like the hand of God. She takes her fingers and removes a tendril of hair from her mouth. She keeps walking through the middle of the field. She’s heading to the barn, but she didn’t want to take the path. She figures why take the easy way, when the unbeaten path is so much more fun? There’s nothing like the feel of the wheat caressing your hands, fingers and legs in the warm summer sun. These moments of joy are few and far between in this life. They may be simple, but some days they are the only joy we feel.