It was a genuine railcar.
Specifically railcar 519, surrounded by warped golf clubs bent in frustration, abandoned carousel heads no longer smiling, discarded pea cans empty of fodder, and rusted mattress frames minus their former lovers. George salvaged 519 from the brink of crush central.
At first Henry was lost. How he missed his large corrugated friend. There was nothing quite as grand to scent mark but Henry–like other things when the world changes–made allowances for undivine intervention. A rusted pile of old bikes replaced 519’s hole. Wheels spinning in summer winds presented the dirty white-muzzled sentry with fresh morning challenges. This made him feel alive. A memory, the aging dog had misplaced last year.
Let’s see, where was I? Oh, the railcar. George anchored the 519 on Small Hill Peak–the only fake mountain in a ten-mile radius. Railcar 519 once part of the Erie Rail Line–punctually proud milk lady to NYC–was the last of her kind. There was no need of outdated railcars with high back stools and velvet sides. Over the unkind decades, her sisters and brothers went crushing into oblivion. 519’s siblings as well as extended family members, had long been spiriting toys that floated back to the USA by way of China and the industrial sea.
So George loved Mary. Mary loved the past–way past. She cherished tin spoons slapping weighty coffee mugs sitting on ceramic saucers yellowed by wear. These specific sensations, possible in a grand old diner. A long, lean railcar with a past cultivated carefully in the present. Railcar 519 was unbent, repuckered and polished until the sun seemed it would never set again on her gleaming silver sides. Her innards were spruced new in all things old starting with a great black and white tile floor and portal bubble windows.
Railcar 519 started cooking. Eggs and bacon dished out with flavors impossible to capture anywhere but in this magical slice of metal manna. Once completely refurbished and 519 was just so–sitting presciently atop Small Hill Peak–the piping hot aromatic coffee poured into its weighted mug. Th perfectly fluted tin spoon held in Mary’s delicate nude hand, tapped above a yellowed ceramic saucer on the mahogany breakfast bar. It was at this very spot, in this very moment that George proposed to the love of his life. And Mary slurped first then said, “Yes.”
So I guess railcar 519 is a multiple love story–George and Mary, Henry and perfectly placed peeing, heavy mugs and light spoons, and this writer’s fondness for old diner cars.
this particular art was part of a mural I painted in my daughter’s room long ago. the mural–a carousel went all the way around her room. it has since been painted over in a color called cracker bits. my daughter occupies a different room. this room–now the guest room. sorry for the poor image quality