Billy Pilgrim's train, the longest train of all, did not move for two days.
"This ain't bad," the hobo told Billy on the second day. "This ain't nothing at all."
Billy looked out through the ventilator. The railroad yard was a desert now, except for a hospital train marked with red crosses--on a siding far, far away. Its locomotive whistled. The locomotive of Billy Pilgrim's train whistled back. They were saying, "Hello."
My favorite character is this little passage is the hobo. I appreciate his attitude. Sitting in a boxcar, waiting to be hauled off to some prisoner of war camp, the hobo doesn't get pissed or depressed or bereft. Nope. The hobo just sits there, like he's eating a cheese sandwich at a lunch counter with Billy. Basically, he's saying, "Well, it ain't prime rib, but it's filling."
It has been a difficult day. My best friend, Wonder Twin, has taken another job. I won't be working with her anymore. We had a going-away potluck for her this afternoon. Swedish meatballs. Fruit pizza. Crescent weenies. Cake. It was really good. It was also really sad. I've worked with my friend for almost twenty years. She was also best friends with my sister who died. When Wonder Twin walks out the door tomorrow after work for the last time, a part of my sister will be walking out the door with her, too.
I know that doesn't make a whole lot of sense. But the fact that Wonder Twin knew my sister really well--loved my sister--was always really comforting to me. I could share memories of my sister, quote her, and Wonder Twin immediately got it. There's very few people who know almost everything about me. Wonder Twin is one of those people.
I do not endorse drinking as a coping mechanism for anything. However, I am probably going to have a really special hot chocolate tonight. Maybe two. It won't change the fact that Wonder Twin is cleaning out her locker at work tomorrow, or that I am probably going to cry. Yes, I am going to be a mess. But I will be happy tonight.
For 20 great years, Saint Marty got to work with his best friend. For that, he is very thankful.