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Train Tracks

Updated: Aug 26, 2023

DISCLAIMER: This article solely expresses the author’s views, experiences, and opinions.

This article contains mature subject matter, including the graphic description of an act of suicide.

This article discusses suicide for the purpose of sharing the author’s experiences and opinions in an effort to help individuals who can relate to the author, not to sensationalize or encourage acts of self-harm or suicide attempts. If you or someone you know is considering, or have attempted, acts of self-harm or suicide, please reach out to a trained professional as quickly as possible by calling a suicide hotline or 911/your local emergency number.

Please consult a mental healthcare provider before creating or changing your treatment/therapeutic plan.

Reader discretion is advised.


The train was delayed. I joined my restless fellow commuters alongside the stretch of platform parallel to the train tracks. The strip of yellow paint warned of the dangers of crossing through to the darkness that awaited me on the other side. An invisible shield cloaked in a thick line of visible yellow paint; a wall that would not be strong enough to restrain my dark thoughts from becoming a grim reality. The colour of the sun confined to a strip of caution painted onto the ground - perhaps to encourage me to think ‘happy thoughts”. It cautioned me, however, into taking a few big steps back, positioning me behind the designated yellow border. “What purpose does this border serve?” I thought to myself. I leaned forward as my overbearing curiosity hijacked my train of thought. I looked to my left; people wearing sweaters with their sleeves rolled up to their elbows, people wearing headphones - big ones, perhaps to filter out the sound of exasperated people -, people whose eyes darted left and right surveying their surroundings just in case. “But just in case what?”

My curiosity persisted to ask. I could feel the oblivion that sheltered me. It was like my personal cautionary umbrella that I carefully held onto to protect me from the daily intrusive reminders of my once happiness turned dark. I could feel it pull away as the train on the other side arrived, bringing with it an aggressive gust of wind. My eyes darted back from my hypervigilance to the yellow strip in front of me. In a daze, I took two steps forward. I could feel the eyes of some of my fellow commuters watching me. I stopped and slowly looked over the edge, onto the tracks, almost hesitantly, as if there was a part of me that was still afraid of my last fall into the abyss that I managed to crawl out from. I made it out to the other side; a different person perhaps, but alive.

I could hear the faint voices of my past and uncertain present; they pushed me into the emptiness; into a place where I saw the world through the eyes of distortion – back to a time when the sweet taste of chocolate turned bitter and the soothing sound of music turned intrusive. Everything felt like a dream, I had floated away. My flesh was as present as the moment itself, but my psyche lived in a place that did not exist outside the confines of my own existence. The Train Tracks; rusty. Some parts of the tracks were surrounded by pools of discoloured liquid; clear water with a touch of pink mixed in from the copper-coloured rust, forming a pigment on a painter’s pallet that could be used to paint characters in motion. A set of eyes appeared from between the tracks; a little black dot above the right eye; a nose that looked like mine. He smiled at first, but then his eyes closed. I took another step back, but the image continued to paint itself. He lay there. “Why is he laying on the tracks?” I thought to myself. His feet were bare, covered only by a label held by the big toe of his left foot. My vision began to double, the beat of my heart drummed a vibration that foretold the chaos that was about to overcome me. I could feel the sensation of water running down my cheeks, but my eyes remained fixated on the tracks. “Look at him, he finally looks like he’s at peace” I heard a voice echo.

His palms faced the sky, covered in a layer of darkness that seemed to have released itself through the creases of his hands. It was as if his depression breathed out a final sigh of relief at its successful escape from captivity, transitioning to freedom. I watched as the chain that adorned his neck began to grow incrementally until the interlocking became clearly visible; cratering the surface of his chest. The layer of darkness that covered his hands covered parts of his chain too. Suddenly, I blinked and opened my eyes to discover that his chain had taken the form of a noose made from corroded heavy metal. I could see him, crushed with grief, carefully disassembling the chain from the swing he set up in his living room for his daughters, only to reassemble it as a vessel through which his soul would escape. The train roared past, returning with it my attention to the yellow border painted across the pavement in front of me. There he lay, motionless. As I stood over a version of the brother that ceased to exist, I waited in silence, desperately, for him to open his eyes. I watched attentively for the rise and fall of his chest. Still, in a state of trance, I looked up to discover his handprints on a wall. They horrifyingly illustrated his struggle after he let go. “He didn’t want to die” I whispered to myself. “He felt like he didn’t have any other options”.

A gust of wind from the train arriving at the opposite end of the platform pulled me back from my journey through time, leaving me breathless and in tears. Consumed with sadness, I took a few steps past the thick yellow border to the edge of the platform. As I stared down at the train tracks, I realized that the same darkness that freed itself from within my brother had been seeking its own release from within me for years. I lusted desperately after peace and happiness, but it continued to remain a love unrequited. I knew deep down that he did not want to die. He was exhausted from the sleeplessness; he embodied life but walked around feeling numb enough to feel as though he was already dead. We shared so much in common, but while I stood at the edge of the train tracks, held hostage by my past, one thought held its sword up battling the darkness of my thoughts and determined to win the age-old argument against myself; do I live in pain or die in peace? The thought that I did not have to die to feel alive again won the battle fought in despair, and I took a step back and continued to wait for the next train.

In Memory of ACE

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