Flash Fiction Challenge – Prompt 33 http://thaininvain.com/2014/08/13/flash-fiction-challenge-prompt-33/
The man at the railway gate
Isaac, the old gatekeeper at the railway gate ambled along. He got ready to close the gates of the railway at the manned railway crossing. This was his job, the only job he knew. . The 6:20 was due at any moment It would pass by the railway gate and he would watch it pass by. Just like he watched the other trains pass by.
He loved to wonder who was inside. Where were they going ? Did they have families or were they loners like him ?Did they have sorrows or joys ? Was it their first time traveling ? May be there was a baby inside on his first railway trip -at the start of a new journey. Sometimes he saw babies held by their mothers to the window and the surprise in their eyes as they beheld the sights outside, the breeze on their faces and hands waving in air as if they wanted to fly .
It was possible that there was an old time worn traveller within, like him, watching quietly as the world passed him by. Many passengers waved at him through the narrow grill on their windows but no one knew him or his face. To them he was just the “man at the railway gate”.
No one knew he was Isaac- Isaac who brought of joy to his mother when he was born. She had waited 20 years to have a child. But no one remembered his name now.
He had to run. The 6:20 was just turning the curve and he could see its proud head as it geared up to take on the slight incline near the railway gate. Soon its green engine would pass by.
He had been dreaming again and had wasted time thinking about his life and his mother’s. He managed to pull the bolts through just as the 6: 20 passed by.
A few minutes later saw him opening the gates so that the travelers by road could pass through. Some of them smiled at him and a few waved .
“ Isaac”, someone called him. He looked around. Who was it ? Who remembered him ?
It was a girl about 16 years of age, with a school bag on her shoulders. She came up to him and gave him a toffee,with a smile. She said,” Uncle, I found out your name is Isaac. Every day I pass you by on the way to school . Today is my birthday. I brought you some sweets.”
Isaac said, “ What is your name ?”
The girl said, “ Shebah. My mother named me Shebah because she wanted me to be a like a well, providing water to tired people.”
Issac said, “She named you well.It is the first time that some one has called me by name in a long time. Come to my cottage for a cup of tea”.
So together, they walked to his cottage, the old man with his shoulders held a little higher, walking a little brisker than usual and the girl by his side. He had time till the 8 : 30.