Between here and Philadelphia

The train. Unapologetically steel. Irresistible momentum. And the joy of discovering the red brake handle, knowing I can pull, and the train becomes my limb, my extension, which I control.

Overriding engineers, coffee splashed on laptops throughout, the sudden stop.

A hundred people stalled on tracks, the train a bullet bludgeoned to a blunt standstill, all because of me.

I pause.

What if it’s a trick, the red brake handle. Disconnected, only an ornament, simulated safety to comfort me. Or worse, the engineer doesn’t care if it’s pulled and will not stop, overriding me overriding him. Or what if he stops this time, a ruse, lulling me into believing I can indeed stop the unstoppable, when it’s arbitrary, and he may not stop next time. What to do. I pause. I freeze. The train thunders on.