Dec 9, 2021 • 3M

Train to Portugal

An excerpt from a working title

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Aaron Massey hosts the ArtWalk podcast. An interview, and solo style show based around topics and artists within the creative community. Also listen to Aaron read his Wordplay writings. Recorded with music for an immersive listening experience.
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After finding a seat and settling in on a nearly empty train car, I struggled to close my eyes to get the much needed sleep that my body beckoned for. My mind swirled in thought and kept me from falling into any kind of rest. The trip would take just under ten hours, a lengthy timeframe indeed. I was traveling a pretty good distance so there would be plenty to witness along the way. I had heard nice things about Portugal, so I was eager.

My thoughts jumped back and forth from my time in Madrid to ultimately thoughts of my brother. It had been almost a year since his death, and a little longer since I last saw him. We grew up in a small town in Ohio called East Palestine. It was a modest childhood, and our parents were generous with their love towards us, giving us the freedom to roam about the neighborhood to make our own adventures. There was always food on the table, the home-cooked kind; David and I usually fighting for the leftovers. We were two years separated in age, I the elder, and we got along well for the most part. The both of us played in the woods a lot as children, along with some of the other neighborhood boys. We made rope swings that would carry our small, delicate bodies over steep, sheer ledges of limestone, out into the floating air, dodging various tree branches as we swung through it, yelling towards the earthy floor thirty or forty feet below. Water gun fights in the thick woods during the hot summers were one of David’s favorite things, and something he was really good at. He could sneak up on almost anyone. David was fast and light, and his feet barely touched the ground when he ran. I always preferred him to be on my team. 

As we got older David and I grew into our own interests. I’m not sure where he obtained his free spirit from. Both of our parents were quite conservative in their makeup and philosophies. I remember seeing a change in his viewpoints during his high school years when he began to focus heavily on astronomy courses; perhaps a juxtaposition on his religious upbringing. He began to form his own opinions, instead of taking up our father’s. He started to become his own man, with liberal ideas on the world. When David was fifteen he saved enough money from cutting neighborhood lawns, and purchased a used telescope from a yard sale a few blocks away from our house. It was not in the best shape, but it worked. He would sit outside on the back deck of our home, in the muggy summer nights of the midwest, sometimes for hours, and stare up into space through that warped glass while the crickets played their songs. He must have seen so much nothing, and everything in between it, that it made him crave the why and the how and the who. I only wished to dream as big as he did. 

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