Intents and Purposes
For all intents and purposes, Frank was a man, a man like any other man. In all regards his life was completely normal. Of course, by all means, this was intentional. Because who desires to live a life that is anything but?
To Frank… life was a simple beast. Rather easy to tame, and mundane to execute. It was in this mundanity where he found the pleasure of what it was to live, what it was to be human. It was the small things. The sky on a winter’s morning, the smell of a sea breeze, and walks shortly before dusk. Trains too.
Of course, he was no stranger to suffering. Frank had seen his fair share of tragedy. And though he rarely spoke about it, though he rarely even acknowledged it to himself. It had carved a path for him, pre-planned the hills and valleys that lay ahead.
That morning was like all other mornings. Frank shaved, he shit, he ate, he locked his creaking, discourteous door. And with this, he left his home behind, the place that kept him dry, the place that meant nothing more than serving as a dwelling – and honestly, a moderately shitty one at that. But he didn’t care. This wasn’t what Frank lived for.
What Frank did live for was the pure, unadulterated joy of train journeys, and journeys in general. You see, Frank saw hardly on other meaning to existence that the pleasure that a simple train could bring. He revelled in the beating of the tracks, the squealing of the brakes, and the pulsating rumbling of the decades old diesel engines. He scowled, and thought, in what world could all those other boring pricks not see it? This, in and of itself, he thought, was heresy, first world madness at the very least.
Each morning he walked through the park. Not because he was required to, but simply because he could. This was the kind of man Frank was. There were things worth doing, and things not worth doing. However, walking through the park before a train ride was most definitely one of the more prestigious things in his life. It was one of those things rooted into his routine. Even if he wanted, he could not stop doing it.
Frank greeted each person he passed with a wide smile. He liked to spread the happiness on those cold mornings. Mostly, it was never returned, but he felt warm on the occasions it was. Frank saw this smile spreading as part of his social duty, a good deed to be undertaken each day. But this was not the only thing he did. Of course, he gave money to Franz the German homeless man who always sat by the water fountain at this time. He was a good man. Frank wished people weren’t so unfortunate. He wished people could be more like Franz.
Nearing the end of the park, the dog sat by the gates. A huge dog. To Frank’s best judgement, a St. Bernard, but he could be wrong. For some reason, each day it sat there at that very time. Its posture still and calm. Its owner nowhere in sight. Frank, and he supposed Bernard had got used to their morning neck tickles. He imagined the dog smiling and laughing, despite knowing dogs could in fact, not smile, nor laugh. Facts like this made him sad. He thought the world would be a much more hospitable place if dogs had those abilities.
Entering the station, he felt happy. Just as happy as he always felt. He felt joyous in the simplicity of his morning – what he gave the world and what he received in turn. This gave true beauty to life, each little thing adding up to one big thing, one big meaning. At this moment, buying his ticket, Frank couldn’t help but smile. A smile to himself and the ticket-man. Frank knew a smile shouldn’t be an exclusive action.
So, Frank boarded the Train. This very model he loved with all his heart – the TW-000PL8. There was no finer mistress in life, and there never had been across all the ages. Some mornings, he doubted it could ever be topped. Though he hoped. Frank always hoped. Because, if it couldn’t be… then what was he doing here?
Frank sat beside a small, old-ish woman. He guessed she was probably in her early seventies. “Hello!” He said, politely. She did not reply, but glanced at him with a look, which transcribed to words might say something like – ‘In all of the Kingdoms, why has this train-loving, overtly happy child-man sat next to me. Of all the gracious old ladies here!’
Naturally, Frank being Frank, gave approximately zero shits. Though he did wonder, what is the purpose of such nastiness?
And then he thought, silently to himself, looking around the train – where did those people find their joy, their happiness, their calling? What made them tick over towards the next day, and the next? Frank had never pondered this, for he thought everyone was like himself. Finding joy in trains and in parks and in dogs called Bernard.
As he closed his eyes and listened to the unmistakable wheel chatter of the TW-000PL8, Frank noticed that the world, humanity had suddenly become a much more complex entity. And in this complexity, he saw the beginnings of new wonders, new things to explore and find joy in. New things to add to his daily routine.
Frank opened his eyes, looked out of the window at the passing world, and smiled. A deep, whole, loving smile.