My inner child was jumping up and down with glee. When I was a kid, one of the things I dreamed of being when I grew up was a train engineer. At the time I wasn't yet hip to the limitations imposed by gender. That knowledge came much later, in a variety of ways, though I clearly remember my Psych 101 class imploding when reading Freud's words for the first time: anatomy is destiny.
Oh, sorry, sorry. I digress.
Back in the moment.
It's a beautiful, sunny morning. I'm eager to get to the other end of the park and climb aboard. I have visions in my head of leaning out the window, pretending to pull the cord for that long, lonesome sound of the train whistle. (There isn't actually a whistle on this train...no doubt a good thing when you factor in the volume of kids that clamor all over it on weekends and holidays).
As we come down the path toward the train, there isn't a soul in sight to thwart my plan. It's a quiet Monday morning. I stop for a moment to take this:
On the other side of the train are metal steps to the engine compartment. My heart was beating a bit faster with excitement as I anticipated going up those steps and looking out that window.
Just as I round the front, a school bus pulls into the parking area and 40 kids spew out, yelling and jumping and shrieking and laughing, heading straight for the train.
I gaze wistfully at those metal steps, look up and catch a small glimpse into the stuff of a girl's childhood fantasy, and walk away.
Maybe only children get a ticket to ride...