A Train Story From China

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Sixteen days ago, I sent a postcard to China from an address I received through Postcrossing.  She was a college student looking to add some color to the boredom of her studies. Among her list of favorites were train postcards. In my file box I have a whole category for transportation: planes, trains and automobiles. Since a lot of members request trains, I was down to my last card, the one featured above. She received the card and this morning I woke up to her message:

“Thank you for your train postcard, especially in shadow. I am touched by this scene. Two years ago, I took the train to our capital Beijing, to attend university. That day the train is almost full of people but when it’s ready to leave, the entrance of train is empty. I stand there like one on the postcard, say Goodbye to my parents then, cried secretly. That is the reason why I pay attention to train everywhere.  And Five Hundred Miles always appears in my mind. Overall, thank you for your postcard. It reminds me of that unforgettable experience.”

Usually when a member registers a card I’ve sent, I get a message like “Thank you for the lovely postcard” Rarely do I get a whole story but this example is at the heart of why I love writing postcards to strangers. The image of her from her story was so beautiful and I’m glad in her imagination she see’s this guy on the card as a compatriot instead of just another dude sending a text message! Sure this is an interesting photograph, even though that shadow seems impossible and is certainly photoshopped. Either way, he is not tearfully watching the doors close on loved ones, thinking of the 500 miles that will separate them. At best, he commiserates with a friend, mournfully, over the Blackhawks elimination from the Stanley cup finals. His eyes may have gone watery but no drips.

I picture this innocent girl standing there waving goodbye to her parents like a scene from a movie. It is not a movie in which I would be the star. In my movie, my parents drop me at the train. My mom’s crying and I’m also crying but they are tears of joy. I jump in the air and land with a clenched fist “yes!” as the train pulls away.  I have just hit that jackpot called freedom and all I can see is adventure as my parents shrink into the distance.

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1 Response to “A Train Story From China”


  1. 1 Teryl Teeter May 25, 2016 at 1:47 am

    LOL, yes, yes you would have tears of excitement. Your words are read world wide. I love every single thing you have written and I cherish your postcards.


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