Life is in the Right Always by Michael J. Solender

Ren hesitated then took the only seat on the train that remained. He hated facing backwards for the ride into town. He found no pleasure in reviewing where he’d been. He could catalogue prior success on the margin of the unread newspaper he clutched. The past, the one he’d abandon if he could, was simply a random series of border towns and unfulfilled expectations.

Arrow-wood station – Next stop is Arrow-wood station.

Ren’s only interest was in the promise of what lay ahead, even if it streaked by at forty miles per hour.

Was this it? Was this all that life had to offer him, a Walter Mitty existence sans the loving wife and a soft bed from which to dream upon? He was thirty for Christ-sakes, when was life gonna start for him and begin delivering?

East Boulevard – Next stop is East Boulevard

His teachers all thought he showed promise. That’s what they said. Even Miss Mars, the toughest teacher at Middleton, said his composition had heft and daring. She tried to get Ren to apply to the baccalaureate program but his mum wouldn’t hear of it.

Them programs are for poofs, she said. No son of mine is goin’ to no poof school. Get yourself an office job, that’s all you can handle.

Why did he listen to his mum? Why didn’t he find his own voice?

Stonewall station – Next stop is Stonewall station.


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Filed under Michael Solender

15 responses to “Life is in the Right Always by Michael J. Solender

  1. Nice way to show his emotional and physical states, offset each other well.

  2. Great piece! I love the “next stops…” and I especially love: “He hated facing backwards for the ride into town. He found no pleasure in reviewing where he’d been. ” Terrific line– well put!

  3. A train that goes nowhere–love how you ended at “Stonewall,” just brilliant!

  4. Randal Houle

    The yearning is palpable. Nice.

  5. Missy

    I love the mentioning of the train stops in this story and like MICHIE, I was going to mention that line, too, about the facing backwards. I love that!

  6. Love this piece. The station names hold such promise initially –Arrowwood — and end so dismally. Peace…

  7. This is wonderfully constructed. Very satisfying, despite the dismay. Yes, it’s terrible to sit backwards.

  8. Kelly

    the first paragraph is really nice – pulled me right in to the character, after which the recognition of the cruelties of families hits home. very well paced.

  9. Very powerful story. I felt the sadness and the absence of father! The fact that he is only thirty felt promising to me: he has time to find his own voice!

  10. The last station, Stonewall, did not sound promising to me. My sense is that sitting backwards, he is coming to the end of the line. Love the mother’s voice: “Them programs are for poofs,” at which point the train is set in motion. Doris

  11. Again, Michael, you pack such a wallop into such compressed space. I related to this one immediately, I also can’t stand riding backwards, especially on a train to nowhere! I really enjoyed this.

  12. Michael, agree with the others about the line “He found no pleasure in reviewing where he’d been.” Also appreciated the names of the stops – especially Stonewall.

  13. “he found no pleasure in review where he’d been…heft and daring…stonewall station…” great stuff.

  14. “Them programs are for poofs, she said. No son of mine . . . Next stop is Stonewall station.” That’s just brilliant, though there so many other great elemts. The riding backwards, the pace of the story set by the calling of the stations, his grumbling getting more intense, showing more pain. Yeah, great story.

  15. Pingback: Week #37 – Border town | 52|250 A Year of Flash

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