Pickup Line 6

He thought back to the house he lived in his Junior year of College.  The train tracks were a good two miles away, but when the weather was nice enough to sleep with the window open, you could hear the gentle chug and rumble of coal going through Lawrence, and you’d hear the whistle blow.

He didn’t always mind it.  There was something soothing about the sound of the train in the distance.  Just like in that Paul Simon song his mom wore out on the record player while she cleaned house, along with “Fire and Rain” and “Wichita Lineman.”

What was the line in that song?

Negotiations and love songs are often mistaken for la la lah la, la-la-la.

Something like that.

He remembered that sound; what it was like to be lulled to sleep by it, and what it was like to fall asleep by himself.  He didn’t miss it, the sleeping alone.  He could count the number of times that had happened since they’d moved in together.  A Girl’s Weekend away, his bachelor party, an out of town conference every year or so, maybe when she went to see her parents without him.

The house, with its central air, hummed, but it wasn’t like the train’s low rumble.  The hum was just noticeable enough that you couldn’t call it white noise.  It was fine enough company though for sitting up late and flipping through the channels.

How many of these are there?  

for la la lah la la-la-la.


Early–very early–a few mornings ago, I heard the train that goes through our suburb roll through.  We live far enough away from it that it can have a sort of soothing quality to it.  As I drove off later that morning, I knew I wanted to include that image in these “notes toward a story.”  I don’t picture the protagonist’s house being close to train tracks, however, so I turned the image into a memory from his college days.  I imagine him in a house in Lawrence, KS, somewhere off campus, with a couple of other guys, close enough that they can hear it but far enough away that it isn’t a nuisance. 


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