Our assignment this week was to write a dialogue based off of the picture below. I love dialogue, but at first, I couldn’t come up with any ideas I liked. However, after an informal brainstorm with my Dad about what railroads and train tracks could represent, I got an idea, started writing, and found it all coming together. Don’t forget to comment! 🙂
“This is it,” Molly announced, trying to catch her breath now that they had finally stopped running.
“You mean this old train track?” Josh panted.
“Yep,” returned Molly optimistically. “Isn’t it so cool?”
“It’s… uh, a rusty, old train track,” Josh stated skeptically.
“I know! I love it! It’s so neat to think about all the people who have ridden on it, where they were going, who they were, where they are now – all that stuff!” Molly grinned and shivered with delight as she stared down the old rails.
Josh sighed. Why did Molly always get so excited about stuff?
“So,” she turned back to Josh, “what do you think of it? It’s my secret place. I mean, Dad knows about it, since he’s the one who showed me in the first place, but he hardly ever comes up here. Of course, I don’t get to come up here all the time, but when I really just want to think about something, here’s where I go.”
She was looking so expectantly at him, Josh felt like he had to say something. “It’s kinda cool, I guess. I never really had a secret place back in New York – unless you count the big chair that hung from the ceiling.”
Molly gave an amused sort of half-laugh, and sat down on one side of the rail. “I’m just glad I finally have a brother to show it to!” she added.
Josh sat down opposite her.
For a few minutes, they both just sat there, Josh staring at the gravel under the tracks, and Molly gazing at the trees on the other side.
Josh looked down the railroad track, stretching straightly to the horizon. “Wouldn’t it be nice if life was like that? So straight and not bendy?”
Molly’s focus snapped back to Josh. “Maybe. Although it wouldn’t be as interesting…” she trailed off.
“I mean, I feel like nothing’s been straight for a long time anymore. I was only, like, ten when Dad died…” Josh sighed and bit his lip.
After a few moments of silence, Molly sighed, too. “I don’t really even remember Mommy. I was only, like, two when the accident happened.” Pausing for another moment, she continued, “But I’m glad that our parents got married. It’s kind of neat that our two half-families can fit together to make a whole one.”
Josh was quiet.
Molly watched a dandelion fuzz drift arbitrarily to rest on the edge of her skirt.
Josh spoke. “I still wish life wasn’t so twisty. I mean, since Dad died, it’s been more like a roller coaster. Well, first Dad got skin cancer and then that was scary and crazy and there were all those doctors’ appointments and stuff. Then, he died and Mom had to work and there wasn’t anyone at home and then Mom met your Dad and they got married and then we moved all the way to Shokan, New York from New York City. Talk about not straight!”
“Wow,” Molly’s blue eyes got big. “That does sound twisty – really twisty. At least I didn’t have to move.”
“Or remember all the things you used to do with your Dad before he got sick and then watch him –,” he couldn’t bring himself to actually say it, “– while not being able to do anything!”
Molly couldn’t tell if he was yelling or crying. She looked down at her black flats.
“That’s awful,” she mumbled.
“It’s not a roller coaster; it’s a train wreck!” Josh verbalized his mental anguish. “I just wish none of it had happened!”
Molly looked up.
Josh looked down.
“It’s not that I don’t like you or your Dad…” It was his turn to mumble.
“I know,” she put in quickly. It was her turn to stare at the gravel.
Josh watched the second hand tick around his watch.
Finally, Molly spoke up, darting a glance at her step-brother. “The train track is nice and straight, but there are good things off the track, too.”
Josh said nothing.
Molly went on. “I’m not sure how to say this without sounding dumb, but think about it with the train picture. When you’re going on the nice, straight track, everything is going, you know, the way it’s supposed to go. But when you’re on the train and the nice, straight track, you can’t explore all the cool stuff that’s off the track. Of course a train wreck is horrible – I’m not saying it’s not,” she paused, trying to figure out how to word her thoughts. “But a train wreck gets you off the tracks, off the narrow, ordinary life and into a world of things so much bigger than yourself.”
Molly looked at Josh. She wasn’t sure what he was thinking, but he didn’t seem angry.
“If life was as straight out and laid out as this train track,” she nodded to the rails, “we would never get to see all the other things around us.”
Josh lifted his head. “I think life’s more like the crazy little trail we followed through the woods to get here.”
Molly smiled feebly.
Josh looked past her at the trees on the other side. “I guess you can’t have good without bad. You can’t have life without hurt. You can’t have love without pain. I suppose we live in a fallen world, after all.”
He glanced at Molly, a little embarrassed at his soliloquy, but went on, “And I guess it’s either life with the mix of happy and sad or no life.” Josh looked solemnly at his step-sister. “And if God has given us life, it is not our place to take it.”
Molly nodded. “He is the One Who makes life worth living.”
“Who gives purpose to suffering,” Josh agreed.
‘“Though He slay me, yet I will trust in Him,”’ Molly quoted.
“It’s in Job,” she clarified, seeing Josh’s eyebrow raise questioningly.
“Kind of like in Narnia, I guess,” Josh mused, “where Mr. Beaver say about Aslan, ‘He’s not safe, but He is good.’ “And He’s in charge of our life’s train track,” he connected the dots.
“Or our roller coaster or crazy little trail or whatever,” Molly added, grinning.
Josh grinned back. “And I’m sure glad my crazy little trail led up here!”
“Totally!” Molly beamed.