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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Easter (05/30/05)

TITLE: The Great Equation
By wil Twynstra


Life is a one way ticket. You donít remember the purchase, or getting on the ride. You look at the great expanse of this world, and disappear without so much as creating a wrinkle in the bigger picture. I decided one day to hop a train and see Canada. I caught an old CN heading North out of Toronto. It curled its way slowly through the industrial sections; it was 3AM. The buildings were mostly abandoned with shattered windows. The ghosts of a better age seemed to linger, but their grip on the sweaty concrete was loosening, and the day would come where they too, would travel away with the echo of a beaten train.
I looked up at the buildings. These monstrosities held the hopes and dreams of both the rich and desperate. Where did I fit into the equation? Never having been good at math, I figured removing myself would do everyone a world of good. The night air was cool and damp, but anything that was tangible was welcome by me. I needed that, especially tonight.
We traveled out of the city, the luminescence reluctantly gave up the sky, and I saw the stars that I had forgotten were there. The city drowns out everything; the smog grayís the sky. The traffic buries the wind. The lights replace the stars. Some nights all you could see was Venus shining through. I thought to myself, there are two and half million people making a wish right now. What are the odds I would be first?
I gave up after that, thinking a person can actually drown without being in water. It all depends on what sea youíre swimming in.
The train worked its way through Beaverton, towards Orillia, and hid in the backwoods of Northern Ontario. Being May, the land had granted the release of nature. Nothing captivates like these parts, especially when youíre alone. Dawn had broken, and my soul felt the same.
This was not a spiritual journey, though. Like I said, it was more of a release. I was saving the powers that-be the need to calculate my fate. I let my feet dangle over the edge of the flat I was travelling on. Rocks and evergreens flashed before me, hypnotizing me. I could actually smell the air without associating it to a particular part of the city. There was no Chinatown here, no Danforth, docks or High Park. It was overwhelming, cathartic.
Then, as though I had fallen, I let out a cry. It came from a point within me that was beyond comprehension. The core of who I was had been shattered, and I felt the fragments fade into the bush. I actually felt my heart break. I find it strange how the very change you look for is the hardest thing to accept, and the very thing you are giving up is the hardest thing to part with. Memories rushed as quickly as the scenery. My loves, my passions, my sleepless nights, these pierced me. What affected me most was my family. I had not seen them since my father died on Easter morning. I held his hand when he passed hearing the echo of his life in his last breath. Just as he had disappeared, so did I.
I know they came looking for me. I heard their knocks; I saw their numbers when the phone rang. Yet they too were drowned out and never returned. I had been equated out.
I lost my bearings. After a few hours, the scenery never changed. I assumed we were headed towards Huntsville, but with no road map, or road for that matter, I didnít know. I felt the vastness of my situation, and felt very scared all of a sudden. I thought when we equate something we make a permanent change. Since I had been subtracted from the equation, where did that leave me? I leaned forward a bit so I could see down the tracks, but it was just the same. I only had the rhythmic sound of the tracks and memory of an Easter morning that I knew now, had changed who I was, forever.

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This article has been read 888 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Helga Doermer06/06/05
Canadian, eh? : )
Your peice flowed with the rhythmic sound of the train wheels.
Suzanne R06/07/05
I liked the concept of "Where did I fit into the equation?" and the way this wound through the piece.

Just a suggestion - clear paragraph breaks.

You have some beautiful phrases in this piece. I wonder how much is autobiographical? It seems to have a lot of heart behind it.
Kyle Chezum06/07/05
This was a very interesting piece. I like your style!
dub W06/08/05
I like the way the narration progressed. I agree with above, paragraph spacing would make for better readability.
Sally Hanan06/08/05
Great writing, would love to read more of your work. Even though it is, one of the criteria to win placement is for the piece to be recognizable as Christian (ie, praying man, thoughts of Jesus etc), and unfortunately you have no mention of that.
Shari Armstrong 06/09/05
A dark narative with just enough sparks of light to show the change going on.
Val Clark06/11/05
Great start, really hooked me in. Nice transition from city to the country mirroring your character's journey from hopelessness to the possibility of hope.

Delores Baber06/12/05
What a gift you have with words. No easy metaphors, rather interesting and refreshing phrases as you describe the scene and the thoughts. It feels like part of a larger piece. I'm left wondering why the father's death erases the son from the equation. The equation started with Adam and continues to become more complete with each new generation. I wished I could understand the dark struggle the father's death has caused the hitch hiker. Very talented. Would love to receive a PM regarding more details on the equation.
Linda Germain 06/12/05
You have some wonderful lines in this piece! It makes me want to know MORE. You are definitely a wordsmith. Very interesting and creative.