Saturday, May 26, 2012
Harold gently set the train engineer into place. It was the last piece of his project. He sat back on his stool, bracing his hands on his knees and surveyed his work. Connersville was finished. It was his masterpiece. It had taken him six months and more than a few hundred dollars to create. When Jean was alive, he'd hidden this expense from her, stealing time from evening chores to putz around in his basement and assemble smaller, more compact train towns. But now she was gone.
He devoted hours -- days, even, to gluing tiny figurines into place. He visited trains shops and antique malls to find just the right tracks and signs and model kits to use. He made a town that he'd want to live in; one that reminded him of being a young boy. He and his friends had loved to wander near the train tracks, looking for hobos and cast-offs from the trains that went by. People nowadays didn't understand how important trains were.
Harold perused Connersville a while longer. He wished Jean were here to see it. She wouldn't understand it, might even have begrudged it, but at least she would have been there with him and might have enjoyed watching it with him for a bit.
He rose from his stool and grabbed the control pad. He flipped the switch and the train whirred to life. It traveled down the track, past the saloon and bakery. Past the bank, the post office, the school, and the town hall. It went into the tunnel through the mountain and past a lumberyard where a platform waited in case the train stopped to unload. It travelled around the myriad of tracks, with a few whistles of the horn. Harold let the railroad crossing sign pulsate its signal as the cars stopped on either side and eagerly watched the train whiz by.
Then the train looped back in front of him. It had made its full journey through Connersville and had nothing to do but loop through again. Harold shut it off and surveyed the stillness. The train had passed through and the town remained the same. He could watch its same pattern later tonight. Or tomorrow. He could sit in his basement and run the train through Connersville as many times as he wanted. There was no one to stop him. No one else even knew Connersville existed. Nope. Harold had a whole town in his basement now and no one else even knew.