Last Train To Paris … Literally

When I finally got on that TGV train I was happy. I wasn't happy about returning home. I was happier about returning to France. Those who grow up north in the city learn the sounds and smells of the trains and there is a familiarity that stays with you. Every homecoming you can recite the stops and announcements and know where you are just by the tiles out the windows. Well, after a while the trains in France were embedded in my memory just as the commuter trains from Penn Station to Brick Church in New Jersey. There is a distinct sound that plays on a TGV train letting you know where you are headed. That chime was like a bell ringing in my mind. I was not prepared to be going anywhere. I'd somehow packed my good glasses in my suitcase which was behind me in the car. I only had an apple, a flat soda and a pack of crackers left. I would not eat again until my second flight out. I had about 13 Euros. I had no magazines and I was tired of my books. I had no way to keep my devices charged after leaving Iceland. So I couldn't watch a movie or play games. Besides there was absolutely no wi-fi. The only reliable source of entertainment I had was an ancient iPod. When we rose through the Alps the elevation nearly killed it. Most electronic devices are anti-elevation. There was an excruciating sound that went through my headphones and a flash on the screen. I snatched them out of my ears and looked up - we were trailing up the freaking Alps! I was looking into mountain towns and cold water streams and that outer world you never think you'll be able to see. My iPod was permanently damaged, it works now but the remainder of the evening it wouldn't take a charge and it now has lines in the LCD. It didn't matter then. I suddenly realized I had transitioned into a bonfide traveler. I was no longer impressed by all the things. I was more enthused with my reactions to my surroundings. I was staring out and I didn't need to take a picture. That five, six hour ride was reflective so much so I didn't even sleep. I was happy with my choice to stay on as long as I did. To return home wasn't about comfort or pleasure. It was about doing the right thing for that moment. It was the right thing money wise. It was the right thing friendship wise. I had no money. I had no friendship. No matter how tied I was to that space in time - I had to return home. My timing for everything was spot on. I wasn't driven to the decision. I was mysteriously guided. It seemed no matter the circumstance or obstacle, I overcame it. I felt blessed. I felt lucky. I was literally on the last train to Paris! Just my ability to get a ticket was miraculous. Now I was in my own front facing seat looking down the car. I was listening to that chime and the French announcement was more prevalent than the one in broken English or garbled Italian. As others took their seats and looked at me, we shared the same expression. We were going home. 

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