We took Jules to the train station this morning. He’s beginning his last year at school in Boston.
“What are you going to do next year?” we wondered.
“I don’t know…maybe get into a master’s program. That’s what all my friends are doing. They don’t even ask whether you’re going to do a masters…but where. But I don’t see the point of it. I really have no idea what I’m going to do…”
“Well, I guess you should use this year to try to figure out what you want to do in life.”
“I’d like to…but I don’t even know how you figure these things out. So far, nothing interests me enough for me to want to make a career out of it. But I know I’m going to have to do something. And I’m afraid I’m just going to have to fake it…to pretend to be interested in something…because I’m really not very interested in anything…so I don’t know what to do.”
“Don’t worry about it, Jules,” came the fatherly advice, “what usually happens is that you begin doing something first…then, you become interested in it.”
We put Jules on the same train Henry had taken two days earlier…and waved goodbye.
The stationmaster, a man with black hair and a black mustache, smiled. (It is a very small train station).
“You’re getting rid of them all. Yesterday, your wife was here sending someone off…I guess it was her brother. I guess the children are going back to school. Too bad. It’s always kind of sad at the end of the summer.
“Mothers usually…they come in with their sons and daughters. They get tears in their eyes. Not all of them, of course…some seem pleased to get rid of them.
“But I don’t think your wife was very happy. She probably feels like now she’s all alone at the house…well, with you…ha, ha..
“And the weather is changing too…there was a mist over the fields this morning. That’s what we get in the autumn…well, you know…you’ve been here, what, about 15 years I guess? Yes, the leaves are turning yellow…and we get that mist rising from the river and the fields. This is my favorite time of year; it slows down around here. And the weather is still pretty warm, but the nights are cool…people are wearing sweaters…and look down there…(he pointed down the tracks to the house next door)…you see that? Apples. They’re hanging over the fence. Sometimes I just go down there and pick one, when I’m waiting for a train…that’s what’s nice about the autumn. Apples on the trees…
“Well, it’s always the same…everybody comes down here in the early summer. First, the adults. And then you see them at the station picking up their children, coming back from school or from their jobs…and everybody is happy…then at the end of the summer…I see them at the station again. The kids take off…and then the parents…and grandparents.
“And the mothers cry…”
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