When I was a child, I used to sit up in bed. I'd face the wall across from me and play out scenes in my head. I would talk and cry and laugh. My mom would walk past my door to check on me. Eventually, I'd pass out.
So she bought me a "noise maker." It was a black, oval–shaped white noise machine with three different sound settings, but I never put it on anything other than trains. It became a part of my nightly routine to turn on my trains and turn off my brain.
It got to the point where I couldn't sleep without the sound of trains. Trains made me feel safe. I associated trains with rest and a steady, rhythmic calm. Silence and train noises became nearly synonymous.
Going to bed at sleepovers, I thought about trains. I worried about getting married one day, thinking "what if we don't listen to trains?" My parents thought I'd pack up my noise maker and take the trains to college.
When I first moved away, I lived on a train track in middle Georgia. My dorm window, just right of my head as I laid down in bed, stood directly over the track. But the train noises came and went. They were loud. They woke me up. They made me nervous.
Years later, I met Scott at a train station. Less than two weeks after that, he moved to live next to train tracks.
We live on those East Atlanta train tracks now. I hear them each night, when everything else goes quiet. Consistent as they are, they remind me that I'm in the city and I'm older and life doesn't always move at just the right pace.
I work by a train track, and we go to church by a train track.
No matter how they change, I have never had to tie my life to anywhere that lacked train noises.
I think I like the way trains sound like my heart.
I think my heart is a train.