Scene: Union Station track 5B, Los Angeles
I was ecstatic to see my son. It had been three long weeks. Sundays are my son’s day.
As I arrived to Union Station, early for once, I weaved my way towards the Metrolink kiosk as I do many a Sunday morning to find the usual swarm of people whom don’t know how to follow the prompts to get their tickets. It’s aggravating when in a rush, and I understand that it’s even more so aggravating for all of them as they are trying to go about their own rush. For some reason, my vibrancy just wouldn’t let down. I assisted two senior citizens and escorted them to the track.
“I’m going to the same train. Just follow me.”
When I got to the platform and sat down to drink my newly purchased butterscotch cream soda, an Asian woman approached me.
“Is this the train to San Bernadino?”
“Yes it is. It leaves at 10:10. You have plenty of time.”
“Thank you very much.”
“You’re very welcome. I have helped now four people find where they are going today. It’s kind of nice.”
“Do you ride the train often? Where do you live?”
“I ride the train every Sunday if I can and I go to visit my son. I live in the city. He lives in the suburbs because the schools are better.”
“You don’t even look like you have kids!”
“I have three babies. They are my hearts. But I want them to have the best they can, which is why they are where they are.”
We changed topics to work and dating.
“I live with someone that I’m dating but it’s not my boyfriend. We are both staying with a friend right now while I await an apartment. I have a job and work in the city. He doesn’t. He’s just sort of… there.”
“I come up here and I feed my boyfriend.” she told me.
“That’s more than I do. I want more than anything to help that boy but…” I said with a shrug.
“Where’s your family?”
“My family is spread out. I live in the city alone.”
She told me about her children. I told her about my parents. About the close relationship with my father and my strained relationship with my mother.
“Do you love your father?”
“Very much so. I love all my family even if we don’t always get along.”
We continued talking some more. She talked about her lazy boyfriend. She said she was tired of taking care of someone who didn’t do much to change his situation. We talked about work, and the fortunes we have and don’t have. Tracy struggled through but still kept hope even with her lackluster job that only gave her a mere three hours worth of work a day.
“My rent is cheap in Alahambra. Is it expensive here downtown?”
“It’s not as bad as you would think but it depends on how you look at it I suppose.”
“It’s great you can take care of yourself.”
I smiled through what would be tears if she only knew my past. This stranger may not have known how powerful the messages that she was saying were. Nonetheless, it didn’t take away the radiant feeling that escaped me as I replied.
“Yes. Yes it really is.”