Oak Ridge Media

Missing The Train

Jasmine Boyens, Editor in Chief

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“I have hated words, and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right”- Markus Zusak

I keep a routine. Every time I’m upset, I write on the colorful stack of sticky notes kept beside my bed. Each note goes to the wall on the inside of my closet, where they are invisible from the eyes of others. These notes are for me. These notes are the truth. These notes are thoughts, feelings, insults, aspirations, quotes, ideas and anything that I can find swimming my constantly flooded mind. Some notes are as short as one word. Others have enough words to make me wonder how I am able to create such a collage of contrasting colors that coat the entire bottom half of the wall.

Every collage of sticky notes is made of things more than just words. Words that are beautiful, ugly, painful, and honest. These words are how I cope with sadness and anger that cannot be washed away but they can be made new.
One collage was made the weeks after my grandfather had died. Although his death was not the first time I felt my world shatter, it followed a long period of comfort and I began to feel just as small and angry as I had felt at a younger age.

One collage was made the weeks after my grandfather had died. Although his death was not the first time I felt my world shatter, it followed a long period of comfort and I began to feel just as small and angry as I had felt at a younger age.

As I rushed through each sticky note, I got frustrated. They were starting to fall and I couldn’t write as fast as I could think. I began to panic, afraid that these thoughts, these memories, would drown into the bottom of my mind and never resurface.

The day my grandpa died, it had been eight days since I had spoken to him and much longer since I had been with him. What had he done in that last week? Was he well enough to take a walk with his dog? Did he fix the porch like he said he wanted to? Was he still spending late nights awake too uncomfortable to sleep? How many times had he thought about me that week? What had I done that week that kept me from making a phone call?

Then my mind drifted to memories of my grandpa talking, for months, about a trip. He wanted to take my brother and I on the Sunrail train, but it never happened. He had never been well enough to take the two-hour car ride to visit us, and we had never been free enough to take the time to do it anyway. Of course, the truth is that I didn’t want to do it at all. Who wants to ride a train with no destination?

The summer before my grandpa died, when he had planned to do this, I sat with him, bored out of my mind as I listened to him talk for hours about the train trip. I feigned interest and responded with enthusiasm as if i cared when he explained that senior citizens get a discount on tickets.

As months went on through the school year, just like the train, we did not do much of what we planned. We did not see him on Thanksgiving nor during Christmas. Spring break passed, and there were no visits with grandpa. We didn’t even see him when my brother had a band performance. All of those opportunities. All of that time. And, instead of spending time with him, we only saw him when we attended his funeral.

Every time I take the public bus home, which is often, my bus stops right in front of a Sunrail station. And every time it reminds me of him. I wish I could have spent a day with him on that train because now I can’t. I missed opportunities that I had no idea I would one day value.

I learned something last spring. The purpose of riding the train was not for the destination but for the time spent with those you love. I missed opportunities and I will miss more but that should not keep me from taking the ones I still have.

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About the Writer
Jasmine Boyens, Editor in Chief

This being my second year in Oak Ridge Media I am excited to improve both myself and aspects of my school newspaper. I am a Junior at Oak Ridge and like...

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Missing The Train