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  • Writer's pictureHenery X (long)

My First And Last Time On A Train

It's not what you would expect

Some experiences leave reminders that make them easy to remember.-Henery X

My First And Last Time On A Train

2023, Henery X ©

This is a true story. Only the name of the guy I was with will be fictional.

In the early ‘80s, I had landed a great job at a factory in Hamtramck, Michigan. The factory made parts for mini vans, primarily the sliding side doors. I didn’t have a vehicle, so my means of transportation was of the public variety. Hamtramck is twenty minutes from Detroit by bus.

The only person I really knew at the factory was a guy from the neighborhood I was living in, Alan. We had established a rapport long before we were blessed with our positions.

Though we didn’t hang out much outside of work, when we saw each other, we’d always talk about this and that.

One night, our supervisor asked us to work overtime. This would be great. My seventeen-year-old mind thought, “Who doesn’t like to add a little more to their paycheck,but there was one problem. By the time we got off from work, the bus wouldn’t be running. So, instead of a twenty minute bus ride home, we’d have to walk for well over an hour. Although we knew we’d have to walk home, we decided that we’d do the overtime. The thought of money at times has a way of blinding your better judgement.

As our workday was done, we both regretted agreeing to do the overtime and solely because we were exhausted and would need to use what energy we had left to walk home.

As we were walking away from the factory , Alan had a bright idea.

“Hey, Hen’ (my nickname in the streets). Let’s hop on the next train,” Alan said.

“Hop on the next train? The nearest train station is over where we live.”

“We don’t need to be at no station. Once it arrives, we can hop on it and ride it until we get closer to the hood.”

“Man, you sound crazy. I’ve never been on the inside of a train, and now you want me to ride on the outside of one?”

“Yeah. I’ve done it before. It’s no big deal. And besides, it beats walking.”

I was sold after, “…. it beats walking.”

So, we walked over to the local train tracks and waited for the next train to arrive. And we didn’t have to wait long. We heard the whistle in the distance.

“We’re going to let it go past some and then hop on.”

I cannot tell a lie. I was terrified.

When the train arrived, it appeared to be going super slow, but I would discover the hard way looks can be deceiving. We hopped on the train and I was hanging on for dear life.

While Alan, true to form, looked as if he had done this before, the ride excited him.

“Beats walking, huh bro?”

“Yeah,” I said nervously.

The time came for us to jump off and, unlike Alan, I hesitated out of fear of the unknown. Before long, Alan was at least a half mile away. I heard him say faintly in the distance…. jump. So, I eventually mustered up the courage and did just that but, there was a serious problem. The way I jumped left me running backwards so fast that I couldn’t control my feet. Picture Fred Flintstone starting his car or the Road Runner running. I eventually fell backwards and hit my head on the ground, which was covered in medium-sized jagged rocks. And the head injury wasn’t good.

I immediately grabbed the back of my head and felt it was wet. I brought my hand around to my face and it was covered in blood. The pain was excruciating. I began rolling on the ground and then — 

“Stop!!!!!” Alan screamed.

I did what I was asked, and it was fortunate that I did. Because a few more rolls and I’d have no legs right now.

Long story short, we eventually made it to the neighborhood. I didn’t know what I was going to tell my parents, but I knew I would not tell them the truth. Well, not at first.

When my father opened the door to let me in, he saw the blood on the back of my shirt and asked what happened. I told him I slipped and fell at work. He examined the back of my head and said I needed stitches. I held a wet towel to the back of my head as we were leaving for the hospital. My father was so angry, he said we were going to sue the factory. This revelation left me shaking like a pair of dice at a craps table in Las Vegas. I knew I was going to have to tell him the truth, and this thought scared me even more.

After we got to the hospital and I received ten stitches, I told my father the truth. He was furious, but was glad the situation hadn’t turned out way worse. I was placed on punishment and once my head healed; I received a good old fashion butt whooping, mainly because I lied, which was something my father didn’t tolerate.

I’ll never forget this night because every time I cut my hair, the raised scar on the back of my head reminds me of it. The closest I've been to a train since this incident has been as I waited for it to pass so I could cross the tracks on my way to my desired destination.

Confession of a wise man, who was once a bad boy.-Henery X

Thank you for taking the time to acknowledge my offering. May all you deserve and desire flow abundantly into your life, as a river does into a sea.

Remember. I’m not here to convince you to believe. I’m here to offer you something else to consider.

May we never lose our desire to outdo what we’ve already done.

Continue to be a lighthouse for all those who feel lost in the sea of life.

Peace, Love, and the utmost Respect.

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