L.A. is beautiful in the rain.
Everything glistened as the train pulled up to the platform at Union Station – the cement, the metal rafters, the train itself, cleansed by the storm and ready to take me home to Ventura County.
As the sun set and the last remaining light faded in pink and blue hues, the train made its way north, stopping at all the old familiar stations: the Spanish colonial style Glendale station; the blue and white deco of downtown Burbank; the Bob Hope Airport in Burbank; Northridge and Van Nuys; the cowboy depot in Chatsworth; the quaint charm of old town Moorpark (which I nicknamed “Willoughby”), and finally, the Camarillo Station, decorated with reliefs of horses.
Everything was shining and wet with rain – freeways, liquor stores, gas stations, the cars in the airport parking lot.
(Californians don’t see much rain; when we do, it transforms the landscape into something magical.)
The 6:50 train was even less crowded that day than usual. I sat towards the front of the train car; I saw another passenger in the very back, and, glancing down the stairwell to the lower level, a young man with headphones slept, his head on the table.
Despite there being few passengers, the smell of hand sanitizer permeated the air.
It was Thursday, March 12 of this year, the week before the lockdown.
Although we were told we’d be returning to the office in two weeks, my gut told me that it would be months before I saw Los Angeles again.
Especially from the vantage point of the train.
That may be years.