D. James Quinn and Norma Tennis

Norma Tennis
Inspiration piece

This Choice
By D. James Quinn

Two trains depart from different origins, their destinations unknown. The one carries a cargo while the other does not. The cargo-burdened train intends to ferry its cargo to the ends of the earth even if it means the train’s destruction. The other is not bound by any such mission; it carries passengers, it moves from stop to stop with a regularity and saneness. But the two trains shall share a stop midway on their journey, and for a time the passengers will intermingle. But time is short for the train carrying its cargo, thus many of the passengers from this train shall overlook an opportunity to stay at the intersecting stop out of fidelity to the mission.

Little do the passengers of this cargo-burdened train realize that their mission will be a failure. They do not realize that inevitably the cargo shall be stolen, and with it their hopes for reaching the ends of the earth. Their train shall arrive at the intersecting stop once again on the miserable way back. The passengers aboard, distraught, shall disembark at the stop.

What if by chance the since-free sister train should encounter its now-beleaguered friend? What if the passengers decide to stay and talk awhile? Could it be argued that this is a lesser choice, second in value, and made more awful by a compromise of virtue? Or is this choice their salvation, that in standing still on this effulgent arc they renew their senses, regale their spirits, and take up a truer burden they shall carry on to that merciless edge?