The moment I stepped outside, it began to drizzle. Rain fell like clockwork in the mountains. I swear I can set my watch by it. Every day since I have lived in this lonely town, dark clouds would roll in and rain would fall at exactly 4:00 PM. Oddly enough my 3 o’clock train had yet to arrive. An unfortunate red light flickered on the word ‘Delayed’ above my platform, as the drizzle became a downpour. I fiddled with my crummy umbrella for a while, hoping that dreadful light would disappear. It would seem that a late train that has been ‘delayed’ has little hope of actually arriving. I started trotting back towards the shelter of the station, when the ear-splitting roar of a train whistle bellowed from behind me. I do not think I have ever been so glad to hear a train whistle in my life.
The rain was so heavy I could hardly make out the approaching train, however I noticed something distinctly odd about it. Every year during the holidays, I have taken the train from the minuscule town of Marble to Denver to visit my parents, and each year I have been stuck on some decrepit, ancient Amtrak train from the 1990’s. The trains screeching to a halt before me was a bright green coal-engine locomotive that resembled something of a child’s toy. This unusual spectacle made me hesitant to board the train, but at this point I did not have much of an option.
I practically jumped through the cabin door and plopped down in the nearest seat. In the compartment across from me sat an elderly couple talking quietly in what sounded like a Russian accent. I could only make out a few phrases of their conversation over the roar of the train, but from what I heard I could infer that the couple lived in Russia during the Cold War and had since moved to the United States in hopes of finding more substantial means of support for their family. It sounded as though their children were unemployed, which was not uncommon in the declining economy in post-war Russia. The end of the Cold War brought about hope for a future of freedom and opportunity. However, prosperity was greatly limited due to economic instability. Despite their situation, many Russians during the war were willing to endure; many Russians continued to work when not paid, and grew food in gardens to compensate for the lack of wages. This has strengthened the relationships between friends and family members. (“Russia”)
I glanced out the window to see if the train had escaped the pouring rain yet, but if anything it had picked up. I could not make out anything that gave me any sense of where I was. I decided not to concern myself with the weather and to focus on the completion of my report on the results of the inexpensive, more efficient growing operations installed on the International Space Station. I was commissioned by NASA to redesign and reinstall new growing operations on the ISS, and the report on my findings would be published next month.
The moment I reached for my paper, the...