I had an appointment in New York City. Rather than drive and attempt manipulating traffic to a location I didn't know well, I took the train. While standing around waiting for mine to board, here's the one that was going out next to me.
I couldn't help but beam. I bet the people around me must have thought I was insane. I couldn't keep my smile under control. I basically stood there giggling all by myself.
I texted Bailey immediately. Yep, a sign I just knew it. Chris was hanging out with me in the terminal and on my train ride. I found it interesting that train 69 was at gate B (for Bailey!) and it was headed north to Rouses Point and then on to Montreal.
My best friend Shannon's mom was from Rouses Point. She passed away several years ago but was an instrumental part of my childhood. I spent as much time at Shannon's house as Chris did with all his friends (wonder where he got his social skills from???) I was never home either - if I could help it. Shannon's mom used to buy me clothes when she shopped for Shannon sometimes. She'd buy two sets. She's the first one to ever catch us smoking. We tried it in her basement of all places! We also snuck a beer from her fridge once but got so scared she’d smell it on us we never finished it. I think we took a swig and dumped it out. I swear she kept me from Fridays after school until Sunday evenings when my mother refused to put up with my pleading to stay over "just one more night ppppllllleeeeeaaaassssssssseeee?"
When Chris passed, one of the first people I remember reaching out to was Shannon's mom. I prayed to her to grab hold of Chris for me and protect him. Hearing train #69 was heading to Rouses Point warmed my heart. I knew I had two guardians watching me on the train; two that I verbally knew of anyhow. Honestly I know I have many but it was nice to hear the Amtrak employee say something out loud that meant the world to me. I'm still thrilled! I thanked them both for the spiritual lift. It made my trip easier.
As I was sitting on the train I got to thinking about the trips Chris had taken to NYC. He couldn't stand the smells. He had a gag reflex and a bit of a weak stomach and he absolutely hated the smell that came up from the subway grates. I don't think he abhorred the city so much as he detested the various odors and pollution.
I gave him tickets each year to go to a Rangers game with his dad at Madison Square Garden. He loved that because he never had to actually go up and onto the streets of the city. There's an escalator right from Penn Station into the arena. He had it made! They took that trip yearly and thoroughly enjoyed it. No driving, lots of eating and a great hockey game to cheer at.
I thought this trip deserved a blog post. I forgot how vocal Chris was about heading to the city. I got a kick out of the memories it drummed up for me. I even bought a hotdog from a street vendor and toasted Chris with a big bite. He disliked the smell from the street carts too but loved hotdogs with mustard. I can't do the mustard part, sorry Chris, but I can devour a hotdog just as heartily as you.
I love you Squirt and I'm thinking of you as much as you proved you are of me. Give Shannon's mom a hug and a kiss for me!
Thank you for reading.