August 17, 2013
The track was cold and Marla’s feet were bare. It was August, after all, and she always went barefoot for important things. She wanted to be barefoot in God’s presence. The gravel around the track hurt her feet a little through her callouses. But she had more important things on her mind. Like saving her children.
Marla had chosen this time carefully. 3 a.m. She knew it was a good time. The train might be inconsistent throughout the day, but it always came at 3 a.m. She could hear its whistle from her bedroom when she lay awake, pondering the possibilities before her. The train’s song had always comforted her. She felt enveloped by its wailing, and it felt good to know that someone else was sad with her. After tonight, the train would mourn for her every morning at 3.
Tonight, the train’s song would be the last sound she would hear.
She picked her way along the track. Timing was everything, but so was location. She wanted to be sure she would be found. That was crucial to saving her children. The train could push her for quite a way without anyone realizing they had hit something. She wanted to be positioned in such a way that she would be thrown from the track. But she also wanted to be sure she died — dearest God, she didn’t want to live her life paralyzed. Or worse, confined and condemned for a suicide attempt. The best way would have been to be crushed under the wheels, but the cow pusher made that possibility much too difficult. And even though the train went through town fairly slowly, she knew the impact would be enough to kill her.
This wasn’t about ending her miserable life. Though God knows, it was miserable enough to end. Much as she would like some way to get out of the pain and hopelessness, she was willing to live on. But recent events had made it clear that the only way to save her children was to sacrifice herself for them. Perhaps then, someone would understand how critical it was to help them. Perhaps without her to blame, people would see that her children were innocent and needed help.
The wail of the train began. It usually went on for about 3 minutes, so she knew it started on the other end of town. Marla wanted to be hit by the train where her body would be thrown into the street, so she would be found quickly. She didn’t want to leave her children and friends wondering what had become of her. Barefoot, she walked calmly along the track, knowing she would meet the train at just the perfect spot. Knowing that, if she stayed in the shadows, the driver wouldn’t see her until it was too late. She stooped down to pick up a stone from between the ties. She wanted to die with a memorial stone in her hand.