Parallel Trains

There’s a subway stop in Munich where two lines share the same platform. They always arrive at the same time so people can switch from one to the other, depending on where they’re trying to go. It’s always fascinating to watch the people in your car as it pulls into the station. Who’s going to switch? Who’s going to stay? Why are they making those choices? Where are they hoping to go?

The real magic, however, happens when everyone has made their bet. “Rien ne va plus! This is the seat you have chosen,” an invisible announcer might say. And then, as the parallel trains leave the station in perfect sync, for a few seconds, your eyes survey all the people in the other car, but before you get to wonder about any of them, they find the eyes of a stranger, and in that moment, you know: The game has ended, and destiny has arrived. Rien ne va plus indeed.

“You’ve made your choice, and I have made mine,” you telepathically communicate to one another. “May this train bring you safely to your destination, and perhaps, in another life, I’ll see you again.” And then, with the slightest tilt, one train moves up, the other down, and both vanish behind concrete walls.

You’re still sitting in a sea of other people, but in that instant, you know you’re alone. Not in a depressing, “it’s me against the universe” kind of way. Just in an, “I’m on my own path, and I know where I must go” sort of way. Back in life’s single-player game.

The world is a maze, and your path is determined by your decisions. It’s a unique path no one else will ever take, and though you and I might meet in the maze, even run in parallel behind concrete walls, the center we each long to reach will never be the same.

Enjoy the magic of singular connections, but don’t veer off course. Remember your journey is yours alone, and take whichever train you need to take to see it through.