The Train Driver Story*

Posted by JSYL on Saturday, April 25, 2009 in
This story is about a train driver who drove up and down the same railway track all day, every day, for many years. As you can imagine, it was a pretty monotonous and lonely job. He had no one to talk to, and nothing much to look at except the surrounding countryside outside the windows.

One day he looked out and noticed a sparklingly new white cottage. Out the front of the cottage there stood a sprawling rose garden. The roses were big and red and perfectly shaped - they were, in fact, the most beautiful roses the train driver had ever seen. A little girl noticed him passing and smiled sweetly and waved, and the train driver waved back. Once, her mother was outside playing with her, and they both waved to him as he passed.

The train driver began to look forward to the moment in his day when he would pass the white cottage. Most days, the girl and her mother would be there to wave at him, and he soon felt a kind of close connection to the pair. Over the years, their meetings grew less frequent, but on the days when they were there, the train driver watched as the little girl grew older, and became a young woman, yet smiled at him just as warmly as when he had first seen her.

Finally, the day came when the train driver retired, and he moved to a town a little way off from the cottage. He often missed his daily ritual of passing the cottage and the girl and her mother, and at last decided to pay them both a visit. But when he arrived, he was surprised when he came to the front door.

Up close, the cottage was not nearly as white and clean as he had remembered.

The roses in the garden were not as large or as beautiful as the ones he had passed each day.

And when the mother and daughter met him, they were a bit puzzled as to who he was. When the train driver had explained himself, they invited him inside for a cup of tea, but were not nearly as warm and open to him as he had hoped, and he soon left as quickly and politely as he could.

I felt sorry for the train driver when I first heard this story, because he had developed this friendship with the mother and her daughter in his mind over the years, only to be bitterly disappointed after all that time. But then I realised that it was his own fault. He had built up this illusion in his mind of perfection, that was not real. It was just an illusion.

I think the same can be said for many things - the tragedy is entirely our own making.

*As told to JSYL by someone pretty wise.



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