Change

I turn to my friend Leigh as we stand shivering on the platform. “Do you think if  Heraclitus rode Metra, he would have written, ‘You cannot step twice into the same river’?”

“Who’s Heraclitus?” she asked.

“He was an ancient Greek philosopher.”

“And why are you thinking about him this early in the morning?”

I stared at her for a moment, wondering why she would ask such a silly question. “Why wouldn’t I? I mean, think about it, he would never have written ‘You cannot step twice onto the same train.’ The 7:08 is always the same. It always stops in the same place, and we board the train with the same group of people, and we always sit in the same seats.

“And the landscape, too, seem frozen. We pass by cloned subdivisions, we speed under highway overpasses tagged with the same graffiti, and we rumble over abandoned railroad spurs that end at nondescript warehouses. The monotony of the train is unchanging.”

The train stops in its usual place, the doors open, and we climb aboard. Passing through the vestibule doors into the coach, we sit in the same seat. Then I notice that something is amiss: Metra has swapped out our typical car with a newer one.

Leigh sees my confused look. “They must be fixing the heater in the old car.” She starts chuckling to herself. “I guess you can step and not step onto the same train!”

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