“Thoughts on the Train”
Halfway through the 14 hour train ride from his parent’s home on Earth to his boarding school a few star systems over, Caleb McDaniels looks up from the homework he was meant to do over his winter break and finds himself getting lost in the sea of stars out the window.
Having traveled this route back and forth from school every few months for several years now, he was quite bored with the long trip through space, and was equally bored with the thought of doing his homework to occupy himself.
He stares at the same stars he always sees, and just lets his mind wander.
Each year he feels like the visit home is becoming more and more of a hassle for his parents… Maybe he just won’t go home anymore, so that his return doesn’t always put them out. Home isn’t really home anyways.
The dreary planet below, some agrarian backwater baby-Earth named QiiQ, catches Caleb’s eye as the train slowly travels past. They still haven’t been connected to the interstellar routes, leaving anyone on the planet to be stuck where they are for their entire lives.
Caleb tries to picture what life would be like down there… how his point of view would be different if he was raised there and not on Earth, how his mindset just wouldn’t be the same. It looks like nothing but swamps and sadness from up here… the idea of being STUCK there is hard to fathom for him.
He feels sad for the QiiQians, but he also feels like he’s just saying that to himself because he’s supposed to. He doesn’t really care.
A frantic looking tourist with too many bags comes down the aisle towards Caleb, hungrily eying the open seat next to him. Caleb looks away quickly so as not to seem as if he is inviting the company…
Thankfully they keep walking past, and Caleb let’s out a quiet relieved sigh. He’s just not in the mood for forced conversation with a stranger, and they definitely looked like a talker.
While having someone to talk to would’ve given him something to do, Caleb knows he much prefers complaining to himself about being dreadfully bored rather than complaining to himself about having to talk to someone.
Cursing himself for not bringing a book (he told himself that if he brought a book he wouldn’t do his homework but he should know himself well enough to know that he wasn’t going to do the homework either way), Caleb will spend the rest of the trip unsuccessfully trying to nap.
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