I looked down at the journal in my hands-
Day 18,645- Still hot. The coffee is still not good. Going to read today. Maybe go for a walk. And as always- write.
I looked at the plate of food sitting in front of me. What could a girl do to get a cheeseburger around here? Sighing, I looked out the window at the passing landscape. It seemed like a wasteland to me. Several small hills dot the landscape, as well as tumbleweeds floating around. Is this a place I’ve been to before? My whereabouts on this train are still a mystery to me. My only thought was that it had been a long time since it had stopped.
Leaving my journal on the dining car table, I walked to the back of the train where I’d been storing all my notebooks since day one. There were piles and piles of black books along the back wall, threatening to topple over, but I knew they wouldn’t. Then again, nothing exciting ever happens these days.
Kneeling, I searched for Journal #1. It has not been taken out since it became the foundation for this tower of words. It would have been too painful. My final plunge into madness would finally come if I remembered how I had arrived here fully. Remembering would mean that the last 50 years of coming up with new memories would be erased. Reality would be my campaign again.
This is all my fault, I would remember.
As I dusted off my journal and made my way back to the train car that I had transformed into my office, classical music floated through the train. It was a comfortable room- the perfect room. A big desk, comfy chairs, pale yellow walls, and everything a writer needs. Honestly, I hated it.
In one of the chairs, I flopped down and reached over for the cup of coffee I knew would be waiting for me. It was always there, a strong cup of coffee with three creams and two sugars. A perfect cup of coffee. It tasted like crap. I’d give anything for a Vanilla Sweet Cream Cold Brew or perhaps even a Pumpkin Spice Latte.
Taking a deep breath, I opened the black book. The pages crackled in protest as dust floated into the air.
Day 1: I’m not sure how I arrived here, but this place is perfect. There are ten cars on the train, with everything a writer could need! There is an office that I have always dreamed of having. The food is delicious! Although I’m not sure how it arrived, it’s fresh, clean, and healthy! I must thank the cook as soon as possible. As soon as I found the gym, I realized that it had everything I needed to maintain my fitness, including a small television with a personal trainer. It’s amazing.
A huge tub, plenty of smelly good stuff, and all the makeup I could never afford before can be found in the bathroom. The door opens into a huge bedroom with a king bed, plenty of pillows, and the cutest lounge chair that I’m sure I’ll enjoy napping in.
Although I haven’t explored every inch of the train yet, I can tell you that the perfect cup of coffee always appears when I think about having one. A little outdoor patio with a table and chairs was attached to the last car, along with beautiful potted plants.
It’s unclear where we are going, or whether there is a destination. But this is everything I had hoped for!
Now is the time for me to start writing the next great novel.
As I read those excited words, I snorted. I felt as if I was on an adventure then. I had such grand ideas about writing the next great novel! Although the train moved forward without visible tracks or dust blowing behind it, I didn’t think to question its silent movement or the lack of human interaction. Those questions would come later. I was blinded by the dream.
After flipping to the next chapter, I started reading again
DAY 30: The book is complete. It’s fantastic. I have had plenty of time to write, edit, write, edit, and write some more. After making the final edits this morning, I’m eager to send it off to an editor.
I still haven’t seen the train stop. It must, right? There would be no fresh food or hot water otherwise. There must be some point at which it is loaded! Although I have changed my sleep schedule to see, the train has not yet pulled into any city or town.
I hope we will be able to stop soon. There was a great deal of anticipation for my editor to receive this book. I need to get it in the mail as soon as possible.
DAY 60: The train still hasn’t stopped. My novel is waiting to be shipped, sitting on my desk. A second novel is in the works. Perhaps even better than the first. It is about a young woman who has always wanted to be a writer but never had time. Amidst the family and friends she was surrounded by on her 40th birthday, she wished for some peace and quiet so she could do what she wanted. Some quiet time for herself. She would travel, eat healthy food, work out, write, read, and drink lots of coffee. A perfect life.
I loosely based it on myself. Can you tell?
Immediately skipping what was clearly a period of intense loneliness, I turned to the last few pages of the book.
DAY 364: Still silent. It’s been a while since I wrote anything. Having lost my sense of self-worth, I threw my laptop off the back of the train, a moment of self-gratification. I found it sitting back on my desk in my office the next morning.
I cried a lot today.
DAY 400: I tried to jump off the back of the train yesterday. I flung myself as we passed over a bridge, the pale blue waters in the river below calling to me. I felt myself flying through the crisp evening air, exhilaration for finally getting off the train. Hope that I would be able to get back to my family.
I woke up in my bed this morning.
DAY 625: My hands hurt. My eyes hurt. My head hurts. I have nothing left to write. I have nothing left to talk about. Slowly, silence seeps into my mind, until all thoughts are gone.
Day 879: At the library, I noticed the books had been changing out. New York best sellers, these are the newest releases. They are fantastic. A world full of adventures, passions, family disputes, and everyday life.
I hate them all.
It just dawned on me that I will never be on that list.
Day 900: I am never getting off this train.
Day 950: I just finished my 12th novel. It’s about all the different things I’ve seen on this train. As I don’t have anyone to share my views with, I simply jot them down and place the book in the back of the train. Neatly stacked and ready for publication- if the train ever stops.
I set the black book down on the table beside me and grabbed my cup of coffee. I didn’t have to read entry 1,000. I have been writing the same words for the last 48 years.
I knew that it was not worth it, but I allowed myself to go back to that 40th birthday party where all I wished for was for some peace and quiet to write the next great novel.
I hadn’t realized at the time, that I was. It was in my daily and hectic life. It was sitting right there on the tips of my fingers, but I never put the words to paper because I always made up a reason why I couldn’t. Time, money, family obligations, husband, kids, laundry… they were not the reason why I couldn’t write.
They were the reason why I could.