[Weekly Writ is an entertainment project where we take story suggestions from our Your Ad-Vantage Facebook page and turn those ideas into a flash-fiction vignette every week. This week’s touching tale was written by Your Ad-Vantage’s Lee Rugen.]
The mournful wail of the distant train whistle immediately transported Jessica to her childhood.
She had grown up hiking with her dad to the trestles in the nearby hills. They’d sit for hours, sometimes not saying anything at all, waiting for the long lines to pass through the picturesque settings. It was almost a religious experience for both of them, so bringing a camera wasn’t even considered until her dad was almost too sick to make the trek anymore.
As she stood gazing down the rails she began to relive those close moments with her father. It was just a peaceful time, when they could share the sunsets and stop and listen to the wind blowing through the trees. It helped her escape. When she was eight the ocean had claimed her sister and mother in a freak boating accident. Which left her and her father to carry on and sort out life alone…but together.
The little girl in her had returned. The warm tears began to flow again as the memories came pouring back. He was the one who could solve all of her problems. She remembered the hard times at school, the weight problems, the dating troubles. But then she thought of his long, strong fingers that would wrap around her little hands. Whenever her gaze went to his gentle, dark eyes she knew everything would be alright.
The headlight on the train was visible now. The engine close enough where she could begin to sense the faint vibrations through the ground below. It reminded her of the last time she had been up this path with her father. His stiff joints making the excursion quite demanding for them both. The saddest part was, the Alzheimer’s would probably make this trip an empty memory for him. But it was indelibly marked in her mind.
Now that he was gone, she felt as though there were nobody that cared enough to hear about her daily experiences…her daily struggles. This walk seemed to alleviate that feeling. She felt close to her father as the form of the engine appeared in the distance. She looked around and felt invigorated by the breathtaking scenery. The orange, yellow and red blended in with what was left of the green of summer. The leaves rustled as they resisted the Autumn breeze, clinging to the branches, until the tension was just too much and simply let go.
The birds above began to take flight as the monstrous giant roared toward their haven. But for Jessica, this was an opportunity to recapture the bond that had been broken by death. It was still quite fresh. Only two weeks since the funeral. She was numb then, and the numbness hadn’t faded yet.
The view was spectacular from where she stood, transfixed by the beauty around her where the trestle clamored for solid ground after spanning the picturesque valley below. The melancholy train whistle was quite close now. She knew that the rumbling at her feet meant it would only be seconds before the train went racing by.
At that moment her thoughts took her to a day like this about a year before. One of the few lucid days that her father had before that insidious disease claimed his mind. He had looked into her eyes and said, “Thank you.”
“For what. I didn’t do anything.”
“Oh yes you have.”
“Come on. I should be thanking you for taking me here so many times.”
“No, that’s not what I mean. Since the accident, you have helped me through some very scary times. I remember right after it happened, I was ready to just jump in front of one of these trains.”
“What stopped you, Daddy.”
“Well, I remembered something I had learned when I was a a little boy. That there was more to this life than what I wanted – what I felt. God had me here for a purpose. And part of that purpose, was you. Please promise me, that no matter what happens in life, you’ll remember that God loves you and has a reason for you to be here. You may not find it right away, but it’s worth looking for.”
That moment was so vivid now that she could almost see him sitting on the tree stump sipping the coffee from his thermos. But in a moment the vision was gone. Her eyes stinging from the tears, she stumbled as the ground shook beneath her feet. Then she took one step back just as the whistle screamed again and the 200 ton beast whizzed past.
It was time to find out what God wanted her to do next.