It’s 7:40 am. I’m sitting in the front seat of the truck beside the train tracks in a tiny town on highway 16, further west than I’ve been before by a good 2 hr drive (hauling the trailer). I’m waiting for the grocery store to open at 9. I’m listening to CBC radio and there’s still some heat in the truck, though it’s going to be gone soon. There is a train passing by. It came just as I started writing and I think it will be passing for a while because the second engine just passed by and I’m six lines into this post already. I’m parked as close as I could figure how to the only café I could see in my slow drive through town after dropping L off with his crew at the motel. There’s no internet here so I’ve just re-read all my half started posts, plus some diary entries I have sitting on my desktop. And the train ended. A 10-line train.
We realized last night that I’d have to drive L to work this morning if I wanted to be able to go grocery shopping today. Yesterday he drove the truck into town to meet the crew for the first day of this contract and just left it at the motel where they meet while I stayed at the RV park with the kids doing laundry & setting up. We did a decent shop on our way here on Sunday so we had enough food to get through the day, but there are a few key things we didn’t pick up that I wanted to get in town. So this morning I got up with L & even though I REALLY enjoy my long lazy mornings waking up late with the kids, there is something about being up early that is SO GOOD.
We’re at an RV park a good 15 minute drive from town. I maybe could have asked the babysitter (who drove her own car here with her younger sister) to give me a ride in her car but I didn’t really want to. She’s a good enough driver, but having that drive alone with L in the early morning, and some time to myself before the grocery stores opens is kind of dreamy. I should probably try to come to town and work every day, but not with diesel running around 130 cents a litre and this beast of a truck. Which this morning, L drove a bit like a racecar on the ride into and then through town, through some pretty good fog for the last bit of it, to the point where I was literally clutching my chest and pointing out that we don’t have a will nor decent life insurance in place yet so we CANNOT both die. We made it just 5 minutes late, and he jumped out of the truck still running to grab his stuff and I jumped out to move the truck out of the way and said “have a good day” and he said “love you too” and then I pulled back out onto the foggy highway to drive (way more) slowly through town to check what time the grocery store opens and find out if there’s a coffee shop open somewhere (no).
So here I am, sitting in the truck close to the only coffee shop I could see in town, only I’m on the street behind it so I can’t see when it actually opens. That’s okay. I like my truck office, and the view right now is good. A railway track stretches out through the grass and brush to the left and the right and I’m sitting cross legged in the drivers seat, which pushes back just enough to fit my computer on my lap. Across the tracks there’s a long low white building with a faded & rusted blue tin roof, a chain link and barbed wire enclosed yard, a couple of small paned windows with rock holes, overgrown brush: young ash & alders and maybe some berry bushes, though it’s too early in the season to see any berries.
On my drive through town the Tragically Hip was playing. I was alone for the first time in a little while, and that combined with an empty early morning parking lot in the fog and a slow crawl on the highway through the town with only the guys in work trucks heading to A&W for their drive-thru breakfast and maybe one or two through-travellers on the road: how could I not cry? Luckily I have zero fucks left, so I just cry even though I will probably have to go into a public place soon. But I will delay my entry into public as long as possible, obviously, because these moments of being alone enough to let go are too rare for me right now, and I need it.
Here comes another train. I can’t see it yet but I can hear the horn. I wonder how many lines long this one will be. Two engines on the front. It’s passing now and I’m not looking because it’s too close and too fast and too long and the motion will hurt my eyes, so I look down at the computer in my lap. Obviously my measure of how long the train is in lines of text I’m typing isn’t a perfectly scientific measure of length, but it’s better than trying to count the cars like L likes to do. And by better, I mean it’s less likely that I will lose count and/or interest well before we hit 30. This train has so many more cars than that, all of them full of coal, which I can see piled up in the open top containers. Either I typed a lot more slowly (possible) or that was a shorter train (I’d estimate about an 8-liner). I didn’t notice if it had an engine in the middle.
And it’s after 8am now so I think the coffee shop might be open. I’ve been drinking the coffee I brought with me that L made this morning, but I think I will go buy something and grab some internet to post this and check my email. Hopefully the internet signal will reach to the truck so this can become my new office. I like it here out behind the coffee shop with the trains and the tracks and the white building with the blue tin roof and the blue sky.
I need to think of what to do with the unfinished posts and diary. Post them all? It’s mundane but also a good reminder of where I’ve been in all those points where I’ve managed to touch down with words on the screen. Like little anchor points. Cross stitches in time. Notes to remind myself so I can look back and say, ah yes. There I was. I’d forgotten.
Because I know that if I don’t write it down I will forget the details, and for some reason the details seem significant—even (especially) the most mundane: the rushed drive with L slightly late for work, the morning sun making all the colours seem brighter and newer. Blue lake, green fields, dark grey road shining wet with dew, then the white fog blanketing everything as we cross the bridge into town like we’ve entered a small town dreamscape. Realizing that “have a good day” and “I love you” mean basically the same thing in context with your beloved, even if you forget to kiss or touch hands before leaving for the day. Songs on the radio that hook you in the gut & rip you open just enough for the tears to flow like blood. Like water. Like the pulse and throb of a train full of coal trucks passing by.
The dog is starting to get restless in his crate in the back of the truck. He’s sick from a change of food and I need to get him out for a little walk. I need to check my email and get groceries. Crying is good, magical even, but now I need to dry my tears and smooth the sadness down just enough to get it done today.
Here we go <3.