Railroad Switch

The screeching noise of the train’s brakes pierced my ears as the locomotive pulled into the station. I stood up from the platform bench, slung my messenger bag around a shoulder and pulled the handle up from my rolling luggage.

The line of passenger cars collectively rolled to a stop. A throng of waiting passengers stepped forward, always forgetting to let arrivals off first. Suddenly, the train started again and inched forward.

I glanced to my left to watch the train’s adjustment as the hive mentality of the crowd grew steadily impatient. Just before it came to a full stop, the engine and the first passenger car transformed to black and white. Surely, this was an illusion created by light and shadows. I weaved myself through a maze of bodies boarding and disembarking. As I grew closer, the monochrome remained unchanged. The shape and design of the cars had been reconstructed to a vintage style with art deco influences.

I caught the eye of a man walking up to board the first passenger car. He wore an argyle vest over a long-sleeved white blouse and tie, paired with dress pants. He carried a matching suit jacket over his left forearm, while his right hand held the handle of a small suitcase. He tipped his fedora towards me and broke our gaze, turning his attention to board the mysterious car.

There was a distinct boundary between the full spectrum of my colorful world and the greyscale one that existed before me.

“All aboard!” yelled the conductor.

“This is the final boarding for train 19, departing platform 2 for New York,” said a female voice over the public address system.

I crossed the line.