I stopped loving trains
I used to love trains.
Everybody said so.
They called me �the Jew kid� they always saw sitting by the Krakow train yards watching the trains come and go.
I went there whenever I could, sneaking out of school whenever could, always scolded later by momma when I got back to the schule.
I loved the way the wheels moved, show at first, like some great beast gathering strength before a leap, the chug, chug, chug of the coal-burning steam engine and wheels struggling to drag away the rest of the train.
I even loved the way the black soot settled over me, filled with sparks I always saw as eyes, living beings staring out at me from some unimaginable darkness.
I breathed deep air scented in coal and grease, a smell poppa hated because we had to breathe it in all day, living as close to the tracks as we did.
When I was very young I sat at the tracks side and dreamed of all the places those trains might take me, counting down the months, hours, weeks and days to when I would be old enough to take one, places my vivid imagination painted inside me like the scratchy photos I sometimes used to look at in books.
I didn�t really care where those trains went as they took me someplace else other than Krakow.
Momma always scolded me about being such a dreamer, telling me I ought to learn to learn the Torah, respect my elders and take comfort in following in poppa�s footsteps � who she said was an honest man.
Now I don�t dream as much.
I don�t breathe too deeply or stare too hard at the ash that falls.
And now, I don�t love trains.