Friday, May 06, 2011

Rêve: Hope, Dream

On the train I looked out the windows at the wild passing Midwestern suburbia. I found music to listen to and dove back into the book that I had been reading. While it had been a slow start, the words began to catch me and I was now interested in seeing exactly what the outcome of this little tale would be.

There are three men, all Gen-X; they all live somewhere in Oregon. The story is not supernatural, or mysterious, or driving with suspense. It is instead a human story. I like human stories. It is real. Reading it is in many ways like reading life take place. These are stories that are not written often enough. When they are written and done well they are a pleasure to read.

Reading the story helped me block out distractions of traveling. I was caught up in the small decisions that characters make. I laughed out loud as we pulled into the station and I exited, walking through Chicago, feeling out of my head. The sign of a truly good story is one that pushes you out of your own mind so that you are wrapped up in what is happening with the characters on the page. As I walked I got up to the subway, and as soon as I knew I was out of danger I pulled my book back out and began to read again.

I read as I stepped on the train pulling into the station.

I read for the next six stops, looking up and thinking that my stop was coming up soon.

As I looked up I realized I was on the wrong train. I was so caught up in the stories of others that I had completely failed to register that the train I was on was not the one I was meant to be on. So I exited on the waiting platform, headed down to city level, paid again, walked back up the other side and waited for the train in the opposite direction so I could go back to a transfer point.

While waiting I read. I took my book back out, and the wait went quickly enough. On the train I stayed engrossed in the story, keeping a mild eye out to make sure I didn't miss the transfer station. As I disembarked, I crossed over the tracks, putting my book away with reluctance so I can pay attention to my steps. I miss walking and reading, but doing so over open “El” lines is foolish.

On the far platform waiting for the train in the other direction I continued to read. The all-too-human foibles of the characters kept me in entertained amusement. As I approached my final stop I exited the train with my book in hand.

I must make the decision now to stop reading. However, at this point I have also hit a moment of high drama, a letter from a girlfriend to her boyfriend. And I realize that I cannot wait until after dinner. That I need to know right now what is going to be said. I walked to find a small out-of-the-way place on the busy Chicago platform so that I can finish reading the pages I’m caught up in. Commuters walked around me; one bumped into my bag, someone took me in and shook their head, but I held my little corner and finished the final sentences.

When I finished, I shut off my book and slipped it back into my bag. The sun was setting over the city, and I watched from the platform as the sky lit up with purple, pink, and orange streaks over high-rising buildings, and a multitude of late-night commuters. In my head was the tail end of a letter outlining pain for both the writer and the reader; the thoughts conveyed blend perfectly with the tendrils of fading light in the city.

If you have time and need a good book to read, then you should check out this one. It certainly side-tracked my own evening:

Reve, by Tim Harnett

"Set in the town of Path's End, Oregon, "Rêve" follows three friends,
David, Iago, and Tyler, as they meet and pursue Iris, a pretty young
coed. Except that Tyler is Iris's professor, Iago is a chauvinist, and
David is already in a relationship. From the author of "Trompe L'oeil."
comes a painfully honest look at friendships, relationships, and how
those relationships end."

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