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Hidemi Woods 

Singer, Songwriter and Author from Kyoto, Japan.

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A Heavy Gate hr601

On the day that I would meet my former high school teacher for the first time in decades, I commenced a journey by train from the hotel I stayed to the station of our rendezvous. I had made a detailed plan beforehand for this train trip since quite a few transfers were involved along the way and the area was unfamiliar to me. I took the first train and repeatedly looked over the note I had taken for which train of what time at which station to catch. The plan was perfect. Now that I got on the first train right on schedule, all I needed to do was just moving the rest of the way according to the note. The train arrived at the station where I was to make the first transfer. I was standing in front of the car door to get off when the train stopped. Oddly, the automatic door wouldn’t open. I was waiting for a while until I heard the departure bell ring and noticed a sign saying ‘This Door Doesn’t Open. Use One at Opposite End of Car’ I panicked instantly. The train was about to depart and I had to reach the opposite end of this long car. I dashed down the aisle like a sprinter while all the passengers were startled at my frenzied run. I was barely in time to get off. As I passed a close call of the day, I transferred to the other train line with a relief. Then, the bigger trial assaulted me on the platform of that line. An electric board that shows the upcoming trains in the green light had turned all red. It indicated that all the trains were delayed severely by heavy rain and the next train was cancelled. My jaw dropped. I didn’t see that coming as it wasn’t raining at all here. Plus, the next train that had been cancelled was the very train I was going to take. What are odds that the exact train I was taking is the only train cancelled among all? Taking that train was crucial because I had more transfers to make on the way ahead. Missing that train would disrupt the whole connections. A big piece to complete my journey fell off and my perfect plan came to naught unexpectedly quickly. Now I was officially in a panic mode. I tried to come up with an alternative, thinking hard about which train to take instead and where to transfer to get to my destination. When I frantically looked through information boards on the platform, a delayed, out-of-schedule train came in. Its destination was a big famous terminal that I thought would take me somewhere from. I hopped on it, and found out that the train to which  I was going to transfer later would also stop at the terminal. If I had caught it there, I still could have made it on time for the planned appointment. As soon as the train arrived at the terminal, I was a dashing sprinter again, rolling down and up the stairs to move between the platforms like a cartoon character. When I zipped by a businessman in a flash in the middle of a flight, my bag somehow caught his umbrella. I found myself running dangling an umbrella. I ran down to him who gaped at me, returned his umbrella, ran up again, reached the platform and jumped in the train. Inside, I realized that the train wasn’t what I had planned to take but the one happened to be there after a few hours’ delay. It didn’t depart on schedule, which meant I didn’t have to dash around the terminal like a maniac. This unknown train turned out to go straight to my destination without transfer. In a very weird way, I made up for the disruptive schedule with each delayed train and arrived almost on time. I stepped out of the train, completely exhausted. I wondered why I had to endure great hardship like this in order just to reunite with my former teacher. It wasn’t such a long distance. I simply wanted to see my teacher and bridge the decades’ gap. It was supposed to be easy, but it wasn’t. I saw the reason why I had never tried to see her up until now. I wasn’t brave enough to show myself to her. I had believed I ought to be successful when I met her again. I hadn’t had the courage to admit that I haven’t achieved anything and I was still nothing. To see her, I needed to verify what I’ve done in my life so far and get over my foolish pride that I had held onto for a long time. In this trip, I challenged it. This trying journey to see her signified a long difficult way to accept who I am. I struggled around, but reached after all in an accidental way. Over the ticket gate at the station, I spotted her waiting for me smiling...

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