The Norfolk Southern creeps along the tracks that run parallel then cross Rozzelle’s Ferry at Honeywood. The cross bars still come down, but the bells and lights haven’t worked for a long, long time. Nothing worth warning seems to live around here. A thick blanket of apathy sprawls out like gas escaping from a busted pipe, insidious and sparing none. You wouldn’t have to be here long for it to seep into your veins.
A few young punks impatiently slip around the bars, hop the tracks then careen out of view. They are, at once aimless and so full of venom and their burdens course through their young, hollow chests and out their misguided, raging fists. Too many of these boys turn into empty shells with numbers around their necks. Some just get trampled dead by the rolling weight of it too.
I don’t mess with those boys. I’d like to say something to them, tell them to find something and run with it. But you can’t talk to them. They’ll cut you or break a brick over your damn head just for looking at them too hard. Wild dogs and lost souls, is all. This whole neighborhood’s littered with them. And those poor mamas trying to do the impossible, fix it all with the promise of a home cooked plate and a hug on the neck.
At the crossing, I idle alongside a white woman gawking at a hooker and making sure the doors are locked. This train don’t move fast enough for her I bet, amid her vigilant uneasiness. For me, the shriek of those wheels reminds me of days spent in my dad’s butcher shop: the smell of raw meat, the air thick with flies and the sound of that band saw cutting through bones after bones. It rattled your damn teeth until you got used to it.
The cross bar raises up as we who were waiting go back to our days. I’ll pay the electric bill, pick up something sweet for my grandbabies and get back home before it gets too late. I don’t like driving in that going home traffic nowadays.
rozzelle’s ferry at honeywood