An unlikely family reunion is transpiring on the Sacramento Valley Station light-rail train.
It’s Friday, May 1, and I’m looping up and down the Gold Line hoping to see some strange for an upcoming report on light-rail security. Instead, two young siblings, meeting for the first time, have captured my imagination.
I’m sitting in one of the shock-blue upholstered seats toward the back of the car, where the brown floor looks rough and unfinished. At this point, the most action I’ve experienced on this downtown Sacramento-bound train is someone farting in my face.
Somewhere around the Butterfield or Tiber stop, an elderly woman boards with her grandson and takes a facing seat about six feet in front of me. From what I can gather, she’s on her way to a doctor’s appointment, but I’m not paying too much attention.
A few stops later, at the College Green station, a woman in her 20s, with candy-purple highlights in her hair and a daughter in her arms, boards the train and sits beside me. Actually, she nearly slumps in my lap. But I get it: she’s carrying a human and I’m a bit sprawled out.
The two women start talking, and the girl, a curious cutie, points at the boy playing balance games on the moving train, and asks who he is.
“That’s your brother from your daddy,” her mother answers.
“Davonte is my brother,” the girl protests.
“That’s his brother too,” mother says.
“That’s your brother, too!”
The adults smile and go back to their conversation about life, living arrangements and grownup drama. “Everybody in everyone’s business,” grandma complains.
“Yes!” the boy exclaims, as if he knows exactly what she’s talking about.
At the University/65th Street stop, the girl formulates a question for her stranger half-sibling. It takes several tries before the boy, inching closer, can hear his sister’s soft voice: “Do you know how old is me?”
“No, I don’t know how old you are,” he says, standing in front of her.
“Four,” she says.
He turns and walks back to his grandmother. “I’m eight,” he says, like it’s no big deal.
Grandma watches, smiling. “They look alike,” she decides.
The train lurches to a halt. The little girl, emboldened, starts to share more about herself. But the boy and his grandmother are already up and exiting into an open-air business park, leaving her mid-sentence, a sister in waiting.
Read Raheem’s story, “Sacramento’s light-rail system struggles to overcome its image problem, deal with fare evaders,” in the May 7 issue of SN&R or at www.newsreview.com/sacramento.