Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Sweat

Slowly yet oddly suddenly, the train rolled to a stop. As it sped down, bright dancing flashes of orange and yellow filled the windows. Tension rose in the cabin and murmurs grew into fast-paced talking from all directions. An intercom crackled. The talking among the passengers was now a loud, tumultuous moaning. They were told they were going to have to sit this one out. They couldn’t go anywhere but they were stirring in their seats. They were just sitting. Watching. The wildfire outside burned on both sides. It burned painfully fast and slow—it burned long.  You could hear it. Cackling. Burning. Wailing. The temperature outside was well over 100ºF as Spain and much of Europe endured the throws of the worst heatwave in God knows how long. It was getting hotter inside the train. My God, is the fire burning the train? Or are we all just sweating from fear? I can’t tell. The air was too stale. Too plastic. I was thirsty. The fire kept burning. We kept waiting. The children wouldn’t stop crying. Their mothers tried not to look out the window. Finally, the train started moving again and everybody cheered exhaustedly. We sailed through the smoke, the rusty glow of the blaze slowly fading through the thick gray smoke as we rolled further into darkness. 

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