April 24, 2009
The end of the day
Yesterday I got home from work before my husband. Odd. Usually this train-commuter is in his sweats, making headway on the crossword when I come up the stairs about 6:15. But he wasn’t home then or at 6:30 or 6:45. I called his cell and he answered—on the train.
“There’s been a fatality,” he said. “We don’t know when they’ll have the tracks cleared.”
He walked in about 7:30. The passengers hadn’t been told what had happened. Just that the police had finished. “How was it on the train all that time?” I asked, wondering how restless the home-bound workers had gotten. I often hear about the noise, yakking on cell phones. About general grumpiness.
Not last night, my husband reported. No talking. No complaints. Silence.
Was it an accident, a driver impatient to cross the tracks and get on with her evening who maneuvered around the lowered signal bars? Or a suicide, someone darting in front of the powerful engine long past the time when breaks could be applied? Both happen.
The first thing my husband looked for in the paper this morning was the 2-inch story that would tell us. Not there. So much news isn’t printed anymore as the pages in our daily paper get ever fewer and the staff of reporters ever smaller.
I suspect other riders were looking, too, to learn more. Maybe even a name. In their silence last night, they had held vigil, of sorts, for someone whose life had come to the end of the day.
And today, this first beautiful gift of Chicago spring with temperatures in the 70s, there are family and friends sorrowing. There is no way to let them know, but the commuters last night cared.
God’s peace to all.