Fifty six years ago one winter evening, John was sitting in the backyard of their modest house when he heard his wife reminding him of his bed time. Newly wed but has John has stayed in this simple house as long as he could remember, a house bought by his late dad and mom. “Will be there in a few minutes” yelled John as he patiently wait for something to happen. It was 11.30pm and as usual without fail John would patiently wait for the last train for the day to pass his backyard, something he has done for the past thirty years (except his college time and in the army). Minutes pass and finally the huge trans-atlantic train rushes through to complete its mission for the day, anchoring its last leg before reaching the station three miles from John’s backyard. He beamed with joy, knowing that it has made his day complete and he can call it a day too.
John remembered that when he was three, he has asked his dad why would he has to wait for the last train before he sleeps. His old man’s answer was “making sure that everyone reaches home safely. And sunny, always remember, when you have troubles you must remember the last train!”. Of course we don’t expect John to understand that at three. Neither am I.
When John was twelve or thirteen, he and dad never failed to look out for the last train every evening. To the amusement of his mom, mom joined in almost every other evening. And every evening the two would go to bed with smiles that no one would understand. Occasionally, dad would say the same thing “that’s the last train sunny, last train for the day. All troubles will be over”. Not sure if John can understand that at his young age.
As dad ages and John moving to his late teen, dad would sit alone most of the time doing his late evening rituals waiting for the last train. John was too busy with his school work most of the time and would be too tired by eleven but dad don’t mind a bit. In fact dad would smile each time knowing that the last train has come home safely. But on weekends John would stay up with dad and dad’s face spells joy in most occasion. “Sunny, this train has, probably travelled more than two hundred miles today and I am pretty sure it has stress itself to the fullest. Wonder what it has gone through today”. “But I want you to remember, no matter what you have gone through, remember the last train”. John nodded as though he understood.
John went to college in Washington soon after, leaving dad and mom more than a thousand miles behind to pursue his dream in medicine. Being too busy most of his time John calls in every other day checking on the old folks. And dad would be thrilled learning that John is doing fine. “When are you coming?” asks dad almost every fourth night but John would replied “soon” or “Christmas”. And dad would say “remember the last train”. John did came home once a while and the two would chat till late evening catching the last train.
Not too long later John joined the army after graduating college and John was posted to the south border near Texas. Much farther than he did his time in college. The year he was posted, dad had a stroke and died. John knew he misses his dad and he began to ask about the significance of the last train. On all train watchings with dad, John didn’t really ask what was the significance, at least to his dad. He remembers well about remembering the last train. Neither has mom to remember anything.
What was it about? I know the answer.