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Man in the Station


Walkin' to the station, my wounds still bleed from last night. Backpack on my back and guitar at my side, I wipe away the tears with my open hand. Old man in a pickup truck tries to understand but he drives on by and I carry on.

The station's in view and I sigh with relief. While the fear rises to my throat, I'm certain of my presence and its uncertainty until I see the man in the corner, rags on his back and an empty bottle beside him, his guitar in his hand playing a sad song. But with a smile he seems to know something I don't and never will. I stare at him and wonder why he is here, alone and afraid on the wrong side of town dressed in rags and paper bags, scars of life shining across his face. He beckons to me with an outstretched hand. I am scared but want to know. I sit beside him and he begins to speak.

"Nice day," he says, and I just nod. He seems to have read my mind. "You runnin' away?" Again I nod. He breathes in and sighs, and I realize we are exactly the same. "There's nothing worth learnin', the pain, it's what makes you strong. See these scars? You see the pain in my eyes? You see this bottle? You see my house?" He spread his hands up to the ceiling and I looked up and began to cry. It hit me all at once who he was and who I was destined to be. "I ran away once and kept on running. What do you think you'll become?" He began to play again and I took my guitar and played with him.

It began to rain and my fingers were numb; his were bloody. My tears feel yet again and he started to laugh. "Go home, kid. It's better there than here." I watched him get up and stagger away, humming a drunken tune. I picked up my backpack and my guitar and walked away from the station, but I remembered the pain from home and stuck out my thumb. A truck with a fish stopped and I jumped in. It drove away and the man in the station was sitting right beside me... (By Rachael S Bird)

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Upload Date: 31/12/1969

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