I'm on the train alone heading for work on a particularly unspectacular day but for the blinding sunshine. I describe it thusly as at one of the many intersections we cross, someone in a car is blinded by this same sunlight and manages to get stuck on the tracks. In a case of the best worst timing ever, the car gets stuck just as the train barrels along right into them. A shout from the conductor up front of Oh My God No! and then the worst metal crunching sound I've never heard in the movies assaults my ears.
Debris flies past my window. An empty water bottle, bits of dust and metal. I'm in the front car of the train. Need to rethink that. A horrible mess and an utter shock. We actually push the wreckage a good length before we can stop. Now it's an incredible day in the blink of an eye.
They announce over the P.A. that we've hit a car. People whisper and whimper. Someone starts to cry. We're ushered into the next car to wait for emergency personnel to attend the scene. Two hours of reflection and speculation pass until we're offloaded to buses. Some people go to work, some go home. I go on to work. Later that night, I go to a Sarah McLachlan concert which is great but because life isn't always, I'm somewhat distracted.
It takes some time to process this awful event. It becomes known that the person who was in the car and killed instantly was a young rabbi on his way to morning prayers. This makes you question your faith and other people's faith in the greater power.
I still startle if I hear any kind of loud sound while on the train like the lady whose cane occasionally hits the floor after coming loose from where she tucks it in beside her.
Weeks later and I'm talking to my father on the telephone. My father does not mean any harm. Really. He says So were you on the train that hit the Jew? It's just a question. He's a good man who although not politically correct, is not racist. He's just got a way with words. Or not. If my father rode the train (and wasn't my father), what would I think of him?