"Jump!" I yelled, the train quickly picking up speed. Max had just woken me in a panic, from a half-asleep stupor. It was 3 o'clock in the morning. We had spent the last few hours on the most uncomfortable train ride of my life.
I know, I know, every story I tell starts with how unbearable the situation was…but really, it was unbearable. We hadn't eaten anything for at least 12 hours, and I felt as if I hadn't slept for days when we boarded the train just after midnight, hopeful we'd finally be able to catch some shut-eye. My still-healing leg was swollen and sore and felt as if it was going to burst with the stress I put it through that day. I had GROSSLY overworked it, and now I was paying the price. The second we hobbled onto the train (after having to chase it down with me on Max's back, and our new-found Burmese friends running my crutches along side us), we knew sleep would be futile. It was the loudest, most rickety train yet, and like all other night trains in the country, had lights brighter than the sun. (Come on, it's a night train people!!)
I managed to doze in and out due to sheer exhaustion (and the fact that my sweet Max, sensing my discomfort, stood up in the aisle so I could have his seat too), but it was definitely not a restful slumber. My swollen leg would slam against the wall or my other leg, with every jerk of the train, giving me a shock of pain each time. I found myself wishing I was a monk so I could at least wrap my robes around my face and block out the light like my resourceful neighbor.
Max had managed to find a seat next to an old Burmese man who took pity on the poor boy standing in the aisle, barely holding on, trying to keep his eyes open. He sat next to him and drifted off on his shoulder, but was soon jolted back to reality when the train came to a halt and he realized it was our stop. He rushed to wake me, and though I felt like death, we quickly scrambled to collect our bags and get off the train, knowing it wouldn't stop for long. We started down the aisle, Max carrying all our bags while I hobbled quickly behind him on my crutches.
Then the train started to move.
"Hurry!" I yelled, as we approached the door. The train was picking up speed and I could see Max's hesitation. "Just jump!" I screamed, not giving it a second thought. I didn't care if I broke my other leg, I was not staying on that train. Max gave me a quick glance to make sure I was decided, as he flung our bags into the darkness. He then leapt out onto the platform and after finding his step, started running alongside the train with arms stretched wide open to catch me. I hesitated for just a second, looking into his worried eyes, but knew there was no other way. I tossed out my crutches and then did something I'd only seen in movies. With the adrenaline racing through my veins, I hurled myself into his arms--bad leg and all.
We stumbled together for a few steps as he caught me from falling, and I'd never been more relieved to be on solid ground.
Cue tears. (yes, again)
Now, where were we going that we would put ourselves through so much trauma only days after being discharged from the hospital?
You tell me if it was worth it.
The land of 4,000 temples; Bagan, Myanmar.