The Railway Station

Sharda Mishra posted under Flash Fiction QuinTale-48 on 2023-01-23

I’m a train passenger looking outside at the platform. I’m going home after seven years. The railway station appears bustling and crowded with people. Vendors are selling snacks and drinks, and porters are running with luggage on their heads. Incoming trains are overcrowded. I hear announcements of train arrivals and departures in multiple languages. The station is alive with the sound of people chatting.  It was seven years ago that a fifteen-year-old me was standing right there, next to that nearby pole. The station hasn't changed a bit.  The fear and confusion of that day is still vivid.  I was scared.  What if someone finds me? I had run away from home. I was holding a small bag with two pants, a shirt, and my mother’s bangles, which would be a reminder of home.  And YES! A phone number of the organization was neatly tucked in my pocket.  People at the station were moving around me. A few stared at me but most just ignored me. No one tried to help. I was having difficulty communicating my needs. If I can’t explain to my parents why I ran away from home, how can I explain it to strangers?  I was panicking and shivering, trying to cover myself with that little bag. I had run away from my family and society. I was nervously trying to blend in with the crowds. Trying to avoid being noticed, I looked for a place to rest, seeking out a possibly quiet corner or an empty train car. I was thinking about my reasons for running away and what my exact move should be.  I had run away for a new life — a life that was true to myself. There was a feeling of relief. I phoned the organization and asked for help. The team came almost immediately to see me at the railway station and reassured me that I was not alone. I was told that anybody could gain financial independence as long as they worked hard for it. They put me in a training program. It was the first time I had met so many people like me — each with their own experiences to share, each with their own battles to fight. For the first time in my life, I felt like I belonged. I felt at home.  I had left my home with a lot of determination. I knew my education wouldn’t fail me. Now I work at Intel as a business associate. It is only the beginning of the long, exciting journey ahead.  Although I’ve settled professionally in a big city, I come from a small village in Rajasthan — from a humble and orthodox background.  I am trans — and ‘coming out’ in my village is unfathomable.  Today I'm going home again, through the same railway station but now I’m a completely transformed person. My family has now accepted me the way I am.  Trans youth must believe that they have a better future. _______________________________   Penmancy gets a small share of every purchase you make through these links, and every little helps us continue bringing you the reads you love!