If Don had not taken the train that morning, he would have lived to see a hundred and one. He would have fathered three kids, who would have given him five grand kids, and he could have met four of his great-grandchildren. But they were just ephemeral souls now, and Don wasn't worried about them, nor was he thinking about the strangeness of small, seemingly insignificant decisions that often change a person's fate.
But Don did something entirely reasonable. He took the train because it was too cold to walk to work as he often did. It was too cold to walk because a cold-weather system had blown in from out west and the weather person on TV that morning said, "you'd better bundle up if you're planning on being outside today." Don did not want to bundle up anymore than he was already bundled up. He wore long-johns under his jeans, a long-sleeved undershirt, a fleece top, and a heavy down jacket on top of that. The layers made him feel as agile as the Michelin Man. And he'd still felt the tips of his fingers and toes freezing while he waited seven, cold minutes for the bus to take him to the station.
The bus was crowded so he managed to thaw himself out by the time he got to the station. There, he was lashed by the 30 kilometer an hour winds sweeping across the train platform and froze right back up again. He was miserable. Deep from within his upturned collar he swiveled his head left and right to look at his fellow passengers. They, too, were miserable.
The girl next to him seemed to disappear into her jacket and scarf. All he could see was her pony tail and the white band of earmuffs across the top of her head. Next to her stood a serious looking fellow wearing a grey suit and pea coat. He stood stoically, a charcoal grey scarf draped over his shoulder, reading the morning paper, clutching it hard in his gloved fists, lest it blew away . Don imagined it took as much effort to hold it as it did to read it, what with the billowing pages. A powerful gust blew then and they all braced themselves, leaning into the icy wind, squinting, like sailors do when a breaking wave hits the deck.
The man brought the paper closer to his face, using it as a shield against the wind. The girl gave a shudder, visible only in the movement of her ponytail, and disappeared further into her coat and scarf. With his hands stuffed deep into his pockets, Don let out a half-growl, half-curse. Why did anyone choose to build a city here? Why did his parents move from their native Guyana? The summers were alright, but these winters could break a man.