“Onto the L Train”
I actually did something, I rode the L train. I hope you get to read this…
I told a little white lie to Christine. I honestly wasn’t feeling well. Physically, I was fine even under this wet rainy weather, but I was just feeling down all day. I needed to go somewhere, but into the wild was just a little too far from reality for me…
“I just left Sinatra 5 minutes ago. It’s 2:39. I don’t know where I am going, but I’m thinking about going somewhere I don’t know. It will be an experience. I’m just gonna walk, take a train. I have no money in my wallet. I feel like I’m alone and I don’t know why. My mom took my last twenty dollars, so I literally have no money. All I had to eat today was M&Ms, Fruity Pebbles, some water. I’m on 34th and 37th ave, I believe. I don’t know. I honestly don’t know where I am, but we’ll see. Hopefully I’ll meet new people, clear my head a little bit. We’ll see. Update when I get onto the train.”
Voice 00005 00:01:11
“I’m waiting for the train at Steinway Street. Going to get on the next train that’s coming up now. I’ve decided to change the phone time so I won’t know exactly what time it is until I get home. Do I have to die to know what people think about me? To realize the things that I’ve done are gonna be noticed? Do I have to become Chris McCandless, Alex Supertramp? Do I have to do these things to become noticed because I feel invisible? I feel like no one understands me. I feel like…I don’t know. I really don’t. Now I think I’m crazy. I honestly think I do, because I listen to everyone and their problems and I can’t even express my own. That’s the problem I have, and I know I have this problem. I’m getting on the M train, ugh, update soon.”
I had to run down the platform because I was too far up.
Voice 00006 00:00:41
“I never told anyone where I was going. I never told my Mom that I wanted to do this. No one knows where I’m going. I don’t even know where I’m going. It’s going to be like that until I publish this, or I don’t know. I’m kind of scared, not gonna lie. I want to meet new people… go to new places…and I feel stuck.”
I looked up and saw an open seat next to a guy with aviator sunglasses, hat, trench coat, and one glove on. I sat down. He was actually reading a book on the train, not on a screen, a physical book. I couldn’t make out what he was reading. The badly worn book cover was out of my sight, I could only make out the word “Flower.” Flowers in the Attic, maybe? Before I could even process it in my head, I tapped his shoulder. We started to have a conversation. He was reading Flowers for Algernon. He said he read it in junior high, barely remembered it, but then he bought it at a bookstore to read it again.
“It’s about a guy with mental disabilities who was offered an operation to make him smarter.” He smiled at my idea of being “Into the Wild” in the city. His name is Valdaniel. It’s a Brazilian name he told me. He plays the guitar on the L train platform sometimes. He told me people are chill on the L train. He lived here for a year.
“M Noodle Shop is a pretty good noodle shop if you go to Williamsburg. Pretty cheap too,” he said. I got off on 14th street after we said our goodbyes and Valdaniel gave me his card.
Voice 00007 00:00:37
“There is something about the idea of the L train and I have to figure out what it is. I don’t know if it’s L for Lorraine? L for love? L for life? L for living? But I’m definitely getting on that train. I’m on 23rd street right now. It doesn’t help much when they have the time on the train. But I just had that thought in my head so yeah, I’m recording it.”
Everyone was waiting and gathering to ride the Love train going to Brooklyn. No music in my ears. Only music in my mind and heart. Where is Williamsburg, anyways? I got on the L train, and there were a lot of people on it only after the 2nd or 3rd stop. It was surprisingly a short train line. I was looking at the stops and Lorimer Street was my next destination. Another L . There was a lot of interesting characters on this train. I was sitting next to Johnny Depp and Paris Hilton. I noticed international hat guy back on 14th street. His hat has so many flags on it. He was jamming to some very heavy beats. When he sat next to me, I could hear the bass from his headphones, I nodded with the beats with him. He smiled, but got off on Bedford Ave. Three middle school kids were loudly complaining about how they hate their health class and laughed about a girl named Angel and her crusty lips. When I got off of at Lorimer, M Noodle Shop was right there! I walked in knowing I had no money, but this was too crazy of an opportunity to miss.
“Hello, what can I get you?”
The noodles smelled so delicious, quite like back in Flushing.
“Nothing, I have no money.”
“What are doing in here then?”
He was right. What was I doing in here? I told the guy about how I met a guy who told me about this exact place, and I had found it unexpectedly. I told him that I never been here, let alone this area before. He didn’t seem to care, but the young Middle Eastern couple who overheard my story did. Next thing I knew, I was eating noodles from M Noodle Shop, suggested by the first stranger I encountered, in a new place I’ve never been, bought by a couple who I had just met today.
I didn’t want to home just yet. Another trip on the L train. A single mom and her 3-year-old son offered me some bubble gum. He was too cute. I was then on the familiar J train getting off at Halsey Street. Maybe this is where I was meant to end up all along?
“Well, I rode the L train and it was great, and now I ended up at my grandma’s house. This was a surprise, I didn’t know where I’d end up going, but there was something about getting off the L train and onto the J train, a not so new train I ride to my grandma’s house, just getting off on Halsey Street and walking the path to Macon Street. Seeing my grandma after a while. She’s home. Maybe she’ll give me money. Definitely something to eat for the road. And then I’ll go home safely and sound. Guys this was an adventure and I truly needed this. It’s finally starting to rain for me.”
On the Travel Channel, guys were on a zip line over an ice cold rushing Alaskan river! Will this book ever give me a break?
…I’m tired of being people’s sunlight and smiles when everyone around me gives me nothing but gray….
…I’ll always be there for you if you want me to, I just really need to know if you’ll be there too….
I’ll always be there, I have nowhere else to go
Sweet, generous, and absolutely flawless
Heading home. Got my Mom worried. Finally playing some music.
“All the Little Lights”- Passenger
We’re born with millions of little lights shining in the dark
And they show us the way
One lights up
Every time you feel love in your heart
One dies when it moves away
Finally home. My last song by Sinatra.
– by Lorraine Bishop ’14