I should confess from the beginning that this isn’t a thought I had on the toilet but rather it is one that I had later on lying in bed waiting for sleep. I hope that I can still justify writing about it. I think it is an interesting thought. It is worth sharing.
Every night when I am lying in bed, shortly after turning the light off, I know that if I hear a train go by in the near distance then it is a quarter to eleven. This train is a freight train and rumbles on for about ten minutes, chugging past rattling its cargo as it does. This is ‘the quarter to eleven train’, at least that is what we call it here. I find this sound very comforting and if I am still awake when it goes past then sleep usually comes soon after. It is almost as if I can’t get to sleep until the quarter to eleven train has been and gone. If, heaven forbid, it were to miss a day, I’ll be awake for hours I’m sure. But as far as I know it hasn’t missed a day. I need to hear that train.
However, last night, I was sat in bed reading my book and I heard the gentle rumbling of the quarter to eleven train approaching. My first thought was ‘oh I should stop reading and go to sleep if it is a quarter to eleven already’. But it was nowhere near a quarter to eleven. it was ten thirty-five. This had me doubting that the quarter to eleven train actually exists. Perhaps it really is the ten thirty-five train. Or worse perhaps the train doesn’t even have a time. Maybe the train travels when it is ready and it passes by at ‘around’ a quarter to eleven every night. Or far worse than that, perhaps the quarter to eleven train doesn’t exist at all. This thought troubled me. This would take away the comfort of routine from me. I like routine. Shortly after the sound of the long ten thirty-five train passing into the distance, I turned out the light and lay down my head. Silence. No train to lull me to sleep. This was not good. It would make a good end to the story if I told you I tossed and turned for hours, at least until the quarter to twelve train went past. But that would be a lie. I fell asleep.
I hope that my fears are unfounded and the quarter to eleven train does indeed exist and that last night’s early train was a one-off. Otherwise we might have to move house to somewhere that does have a quarter to eleven train.
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