Homage to “Two Signs of Decay”
I found out that I had a sister in the fall. I traveled to Boston to visit my father, whom I had never met before. He had divorced my mother while she was still pregnant with me, but both had failed to inform me, in nineteen years, that I was not the firstborn.
I got up from my seat on the train and walked to the bathroom, my feet still asleep from me being on my ass for four hours.
Once I was done with my business, I realized that there was no soap — which seemed a little indecent of Amtrak. How long does it take to fill up the bottle — a minute?
Or maybe it all ran out on a four hour trip from New York.
Still a bit annoyed at the train, which had really done a commendable enough job getting me to my destination, I grabbed my duffel bag from under my seat and stood by the train door that would open just as soon as the locomotive came to a stop.
The voice over the train’s PA system informed us that the doors of the back section would not be opening, so I made my way forward, to the cars ahead of mine.
I texted my mother that I had finally arrived in Boston, as she had been repeatedly inquiring about my whereabouts for the last hour. I wondered if it was this kind of behavior that disenchanted my father. The doors of the train finally opened and I walked down the aisle of chairs, dragging my right leg as it was still numb from taking a nap.
Inspired by paragraphs 1–7 of “Signs” (pages 7 & 8) in “Two Signs of Decay” by Sarah Manguso