If you spend any kind of time in Dallas/Ft. Worth, you would agree, it doesn’t seem like a public transportation kind of town. It’s to spread out and people seem to like their cars, but the city government and DART (Dallas Area Rapid Transit) had a different vision. In 1996, after much scandal and turmoil, the largest light rail track system in the United States (85 miles long) began carrying passengers around the Metroplex. I rode it for the first time last week, but this isn’t a story about me.
It’s the morning of my 15th birthday. My friends and I have the whole day plan. We finally talked our parents into letting us ride the train downtown and have a picnic in Klyde Warren Park. We are so excited. It must be how kids in New York feel being about to ride the subway where ever they want to go. I know my mom had to wait until she turned 16 for this type of freedom.
We are waiting on the platform. All six of us. My mother dropped us off and I had to beg her not to wait until the train left. We boarded the train and waited for it to leave. Before I sat down, I realized I left my bag on the platform. I jumped off the train to get it and the doors closed behind me. My friends were all screaming and laughing as they realized I standing on the platform, but there is nothing I we could do. The train pulled away without me.
I start to panic, but my best friend called and reminded me I could just catch the next train. Even though I didn’t get a chance to ride with my friend, I was excited to ride the train by myself. How grown up?
As the next train pulled up, I picked up my bag and boarded.
At the next stop, a cute boy boarded the train. This day is getting better. He sat in the seat in front of me. I could study him all the way downtown. I am so loving this train. His wet curly hair fell over his eyes. He kept pushing his hair out of his face. His fingers were long and strong and they weren’t dirty. All the boys my age had dirty finger nails.
He pushed his hair out of eyes and caught me looking. I smiled and put my earphones on and continued to look out the window.
He smiled back and spoke. I had to remove my earphones to hear him.
He asked me where I was going. I told him about my birthday picnic. I asked him where he was going.
He told me he was heading to downtown. Then, he joining a group of teenagers to go to West, TX to help with the clean up. He explained to me how his grandparents lived in West before they died a couple of years ago. He had to spend every summer there working in his dad’s farm and he hated it. Once he heard about the explosion, he felt guilty and wanted to help.
I told him his grandparents would be proud of him. He invited me to come with him and told me the bus would bring everyone back around 7:oo pm. Perfect, I just had to be on the train by 8:00 pm to get home in time.
When we got to the final platform, I told my friend, change of plans. We are going to West, Texas.
It was nice to do something good for someone else and I meet a cute boy, too. It was the best birthday ever.
West, TX is about 80 miles from my home. My thoughts and prays go out to the victims, the survivors, the police and fireman, volunteers and everyone else effected by the bombing in Boston and the explosion in West, TX, which is about everyone in the world.