A Train Of Thought: The Monster That Can No Longer Live In The Mind

May 15, 2023

I don’t care what Lindsay says; it did not start on the train. I’m almost positive that’s what she thinks. She always thinks of the good and right things, even in the people she shouldn’t. Sweet little Lindsay, always trying to see the good in people, yet she’s into the craziest things. She volunteers, she goes to school clubs, she has a much larger existence in the world than I do. I can’t blame her. I have my share of crazy things. I think that everyone does, but Lindsay is always making herself seem so innocent, even though I doubt how innocent any 16 year old can be. High school was only a little while ago for me, but somehow, everything seems so far away, yet so much so like yesterday. She has a future. Part of her is my very best friend in the universe, and the other wants to kill her for being a constant joyous being. I’m thankful she looks out for me though, even though taking care of me is really the opposite of her job.

Right now, I’m alone. Lindsay’s gone. Right now, I’m holding onto a railing looking out over a vineyard in Normandy. Right now, I feel myself looking over my shoulder every second I hear a scuffle. Right now, I can stand on my own, but Lindsay is still shadowing me every step. Right now, I’m trapped in my own freedom. Right now might last forever.

The station was really musty, rotten even. With gum under every railing and dust bunnies chasing each other around on the ground,

 I run. I run out of the station, feeling the wind cleansing me of the city air. No one runs after me, I remain alone. As I wanted. As I should be. I run and run as I reach home again. I run and run until I feel clean.

Thoughts are just thoughts.


“Are you coming?” Her voice snapped me back to reality. The gravel she carries has a tendency to do that.

“Yea,” I said bluntly. “Hold your horses,”

“I hate that you still say that,”

“I think the phrase is endearing. And I think you think so too!” I thought about punching her in the arm to emphasize my point, but that just felt like I was setting myself up for failure if we have to sit next to each other for a solid couple of hours, and I just don’t want her to react the wrong way, so I kept my arms still by my sides. She just rolled her eyes at my attempt at standing up against her, with a very, very suppressed curl of her lips. I know she loves me, and I love her too. More than a lot of things in my life. I’m really thankful for her too. Lindsay helps me remember that I’m an adult and that if I’m acting anything like her, to either stop because I’m acting like a 16 year old, or keep that way for the rest of my life because she also is the teenage embodiment of a saint. Lindsay wouldn’t die for anybody though, unless the one she was saving was our dog. I love Snow but there’s no way that I’d die for him. 

“Do you remember our gate?”

“Do train stations even have gates?”

“I don’t know!” I thought she’d officially lost her shit. I got that sinking feeling that a fist was coming my way, so I backed away. Somewhere in me, I felt that

She swings at me. I grab her arm and twist her over my shoulder. She yells out to me,

“James?” She yells out to me.

I get a rush of relief as I feel the sight of her laying on the ground in defeat beside me. I walk off. I walk home.

Thoughts are just thoughts.

She slumped her shoulder and had a disappointed look on her face. The crook of her eyebrow must be genetic or something because our parents give me the exact same look whenever I come home with bloodshot eyes after school. Lindsay wasn’t actively feeling disappointed in me at that very moment, she just didn’t understand how a 19 year old knows less about the European train system than she does, when she’s barely been out of the country. To be fair, I have traveled a fair bit, but I never go by train; Lindsay was insistent on the train for her first time going to France, though.

The line for security was long, and I felt indecent just standing around all of these other people who are just like me, and just are waiting to go from King’s Cross at 8:30 AM to go somewhere else in Europe. A man in front of us had his little black earpiece in, talking to all of the people who work before him in his regional broker company.

My muscles get tense and tense as I fantasize about ripping that stupid headphone out and breaking the small piece of plastic nuzzled in his ear. He would turn around and scream at me, but I wouldn’t care. He would be quiet for once.

Thoughts are just thoughts.


The train was a rusty thing when we saw it roll in. The steel wheels creaked as they rode to a stop. I glanced at Lindsay, with her glittering wide eyes. Every aspect of her illuminates when she sees something that looks like the wooden frame should be in a period drama. I can’t blame her, with the feeling like all of this is setting us up for something terrifyingly beautiful. 

Snow fell down in a silver haze as we sat down. Coldness wasn’t ever something I was fond of, but Lindsay smiled as her eyes traced the shining, flaked paths. I stood beside her, my head reaching several inches closer to the roof than hers did. Soon after she came back into reality, she began walking onto the gray carpeted car, myself following immediately. 

Lindsay still took my hand as we began moving. I got up to use the restroom, passing by a man in a shirt with a quote that I didn’t care to read. 

The train would creak and crack as we rolled on the metal tracks. The wooden framing around each of the rooms looked so beautiful. The wheels rolled and rolled as I got up to use the restroom, changing cars on the way. The man with the weird shirt came back. He bumped into me right after I changed cars because God forbid there’s a restroom in the second car. 

I want to shove him over. 

Thoughts are just thoughts. 

He fell to the ground. He screamed at me,

“What the hell man!” but I didn’t care, strutting as a proud cat does after knocking over a glass of water. I sit in the restroom, finding an interesting idea about how I wish that we had just taken the plane instead of the train. Oh, Lindsay, sweet romantic Lindsay. Sometimes I just wish to strangle her. I wish that she could realize she doesn’t have to lead such an amazing life; save some for the rest of us! I just wish that i didn’t have to babysit her all the time. In reality she’s the one babysitting me, but I don’t care. I don’t want to be her guardian, or be seen as her guardian, even though she’s the one taking care of me. She’s the one who has her nice little job at the bakery, while I sit on my ass all day reading random stories I find in the paper. I left the restroom and explored the train a little bit. The first car. We got on half way through the second car, so I haven’t seen any of the first. I have a vision of the man who I wish I’d elbowed. He comes running up to me, screaming, as if I’d done anything that was all that wrong. I pushed him over. He was a stubby guy; I didn’t even take more than a slight push of my finger to make him topple over himself. I looked closer at his shirt, seeing the large set of words that was obvious merchandise of someone that I didn’t recognise. He just laid there for a moment, and in my mind, I looked for a door; I picked up his soulless frame and thrusted him out the nearest one. 

I snapped back into myself as I left the car and headed back to Lindsay. She was still reading a book, the Canterbury Tales now. She glanced up at me as I sat down next to her.

“What do you think about Machiavelli,”

“I don’t know him,”

“You learned about him in History class, probably,”

“It’s been years since I’ve been in school, Lindsay.”

“Alright, sorry,” I watched her look down in remorse, but I stayed quiet. I wasn’t lying. I didn’t know who he was. I remember his name. But Lindsay needs to feel some sense of guilt every once and a while, you know? 


I stood up again with the sinking feeling in my stomach and strolled into the next car over once again. Sitting on the toilet for a while, I let my mind wander around through the train. Knocking. Knocking started at the door, and I yelled out “occupied!” I saw Lindsay. I wish she would shut up sometimes. In my mind, I hit her; she screamed at me. 

“James?” She yelled out to me.

“Thoughts are just thoughts,”

“What?” She was yelling again.

“Thoughts are just thoughts,” I wished that I could just get on top of her and start what I’ve wanted to do on and off for all of my life. She’s too perfect. She’s too wonderful. Some tragedy was always meant to happen to her. Not her brother. Her. Because tragedies always happen to the best people, don’t they? I wished I could just strike my hand around her neck, holding her up. 

“Why are you like this?” I sobbed. “Why are you like this?” Again. “Why are you like this?” Why? Why? Why? She began to close her eyes, and I began to hold her up against the door, when she’s the one who had held me up all of her life. I cried. I cry. Blood rushed to her face. Her hands reached up to my hand, as I broke down. Her body pulsed and pulsed and stopped and stopped. I held the handle of the door, and as I pulled, she went limp in my arms. As I pulled the handle, her hair blew in the breeze of the outside world. As I pulled the handle, her head leaned back in the way she always did in the summertime, whenever we’d road trip and she’d stick her head out of the window. As I pulled the handle, I let go. As the door stayed open, she fell. As I held the handle, she fell to the river below us, as if an angel falling from the heavens. 

Thoughts are just thoughts


I begin to walk back to Lindsay in our seats, and she’s still reading the book.


I sit like a ghost in their own wake, watching the rest of the people around me pass me by. Lindsay walks by me, always snapping me back into reality. I beg the idea of what would happen if my thoughts happened in real life. We’d get off the train in Normandy, and I would walk off alone. I would walk off with the freedom of an only child, of a bachelor. And she’s back in that river somewhere I’ve already forgotten. No one would notice. Maybe for once, I could co-exist with the universe of reality and the one I’ve orchestrated in my head. No one would care. Maybe for once, this life could just be me, a train, and my thoughts. 


Thoughts are just thoughts.


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