Story of the last moments of an old man who’s dreaming of regaining two lost loves.
An old man sits alone on his front porch swatting flies and recalliing the days when
he worked for the New York Central Railroad. For 40 years he was an engineer on the
train they called the Hummingbird. How he loved that old train and how he could make
her fly down the tracks if he had to make up time.
Twenty years ago the company retired him–gave him a gold watch and just kicked
him out the door–just like that. Company policy; turn 65 and out you go, buster. You
take this gold watch and we take your Hummingbird. Bad swap, he thinks, as he waves
to a passerby.
His wife’s name is Eileen. At least it was the last he heard. She up and left one day–
left his heart undone. Just up and left on the Hummingbird, can you believe it? He
didn’t even know she was on it–don’t know yet where she got off. Nobody knows where
she is but he believes she’ll come back. She’ll come riding back on the Hummingbird,
just you wait and see, he tells his daughter.
It’s warming up. He should go in and take a nap. He brushes back a strand of
silver from the wrinkles on his forehead which is beginning to bead with perspiration and
starts to nod. She’ll be back, he tells himself, riding back on the Hummingbird,
yessirreebob. His mind, frazzled somewhat by the ravages of time, won’t allow him to
realize that the Hummingbird has been put out to pasture, as well. He nods again.
Suddenly he hears it! He calls out to his daughter who is inside doing work on her
computer. Honey, come out here, he shouts! Can’t you hear it? It’s the Hummingbird.
It has to be. No other engine sounds like that. It’s Eileen coming back. Hurry! Take
me to the depot. It’s the Hummingbird. I’m going to be with Eileen.
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