THE ROAD GOES EVER ON

.

Time is said to be a constant thing

Yet I could swear it sped up on my final journey

Perhaps with more friends to talk to

And more complex ideas to comprehend

There wasn't enough time to fulfil each to their potential

Yes, my final train-ride was a busy one

Where there was always something to do

And yet, I always had a bit of time reserved just for me

For I never forgot about that countryside

In the still of night, even when sleep beckoned

I would look out the window so as to never lose sight

Of the expanse of the world around me

Excited, that soon, I would be able to explore the horizons

.

I was not prepared for the halt when it came

Only hours before, the train had been speeding

And now, the doors to freedom were open

The conductors that I had once disliked

For their authoritarian ways

Were ushering us out with a friendly smile

And with kind words about this being our moment

I realised they weren't so bad after all

And I wasn't ashamed to admit I would miss them too

I watched them walk down the rest of the train

Silencing the noise coming from the same compartments

Where I had once sat, curiously observing this event

It felt so strange to be on the receiving end

Having always watched others leave

Knowing that my turn would one day come

That 'one day' that I could never comprehend

Was today

Yes, this time it was me

.

I did the only thing I could do

I breathed in freedom, felt it, heard it, saw it

But, at that very moment, it was all too much

Yes, I had desired this moment for so long

I had thought it would never come

And here it was, here it finally was

I knew I should be happy

Yet all I felt was immense sadness

A grief that cannot be described in words

All I wanted now, was to go back on that train

For, though I had often cursed it, it had been my life

The routines that I had once complained about

I saw now as securities that were no longer guaranteed

It was truly ironic that I had wished for the future for so long

But now that I was in control of it, I longed for the past

.

I said my final goodbyes to the friends I'd come to love

Finally realising just how much I was about to lose

I hugged them, tears overflowing, not wanting to let go

But knowing I had to, for it was not up to me to keep them

All I would have left now would be precious memories

So many of which had been created within the train

But no longer

It seemed cruel, for just when I had gained the confidence

To truly talk and joke around with people

The opportunities to do this on a daily basis

Had been cut short

.

We watched as the wheels of the train began moving again

Just like it had always done, the train moved on

Only this time, we were not aboard

Very soon, its familiar engines were a distant sound

And only our memories would be able to remind us of it

No doubt we would see the train again one day

But we would no longer belong

We'd only be outsiders looking in

We wondered what the train would be like without us

Our laughs, our jokes and all those other little things

Perhaps we'd still be remembered by the conductors

But even they would regard us as ghosts soon

For other people would sit in the seats we used to sit in

And they would be the new focus

Preparing to experience what we were feeling now

Until then, they would not understand

.

Eventually, we drifted apart

And I found myself alone and lost in the night

So I curled myself into a ball and cried

Mourning the end of my train-ride

Feeling that whatever I achieved now in life

Would be of no value

Since my friends would not be my side

To share my joy

Sure, I would try and stay in contact

But even the noblest intentions can go awry

Time would no doubt change us

Mould us into different people

Hardened by experience

And bereft of a carefree existence

Without our common roads

Would we be able to relate?

.

Yet just like the train kept moving

So too did darkness turn into day

The sun rose and dried my tears

And with opened eyes and clear vision

My questions were answered

I could now see

How the sun's warm rays

Were like my friend's smiles

How in the songs of birds

Old conversations sounded again

How in the wind's many voices

Were carried the laughs of those I loved

And how the horizon up ahead

Was a beacon for all our goals and dreams

I knew then, that I could never forget my friends

And I hoped they would not forget me either

.

After thanking the sun for giving me hope

I set off to wander the road set before me

Not knowing to what places it leads

But aware that to truly experience life

We cannot always ride it on a train

No, we must walk it ourselves

And even though it has meant I have to sacrifice

The daily companionship of my friends

I believe that the fate which drew us together

Back when we first hopped on that train

Will keep us connected forever

So that one day, we may yet meet again

.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many months ago, I wrote a poem called "The Beginning of the End" to describe how I felt about my school days slowly ending. Well, on the 2nd of November, they did end, and so this, as promised, is the follow-up to that poem. It's hard to truly describe the feelings that go through one's head when you finish school but this certainly conveys a lot of what I felt. There is sadness, there is hope, and while I look forward to the future, I will always love the people who shared that train-ride with me.