[ The scene opens on a bustling train station. Steam drifts over the iron tracks, dancing in the waning light of early evening as friends and families bid farewell to loved ones soon to embark on their journey to the newly charted West. ]

The train lets out a shrill warning whistle as the distant clock tower strikes five o’clock. Only ten more minutes and the train will pull out of the station, regardless of which passengers are or are not within its cars. Swallowing down the nervous lump in his throat, Daren scans the crowded platform for the one face he so desperately wishes to see. He cannot wait much longer, must board the train soon or risk missing this new start to his life altogether, but he cannot yet bring himself to turn away. There is still time. He will come. He has to come.

[ The scene switches to an elegant office, its walls littered with framed paintings of exotic birds, detailed sketches of the human skeletal system, and several diplomas from prestigious medical institutions. An empty leather satchel sits on the floor beside a mahogany desk littered with piles of books and papers. ]

Tanim raises his head from his hands as the chiming of the clock tower signals five o’clock. He glances quickly to the clock on his wall, then runs to the window of his office and flings it open, leaning out to catch a glimpse of the far off train station. Even several blocks away, he can see the steam rising from the mechanical beast and just catch its high whistle. Only ten minutes before it departs the station for good.

Biting his lip, Tanim turns to face the office which is so much a physical manifestation of his accomplishments – of his life thus far. Expensive wood furniture; shelves sagging under the weight of medical texts, some even bearing his own name on their leather spines; glass display cases crammed full of fossils, antique surgical tools, and half-forgotten awards. But no photos of family, no knick-knacks preserved for mere sentimentality or to remember times when pursuit of a prominent and lucrative career did not supersede the need for companionship.

He crosses the room slowly, heading towards his desk as if to organize the heap of papers, but instead picks up a single sheet from the top of the pile. He glances to the clock. To the paper. To the clock. To the diplomas on the wall, the bookshelves stacked high. To the paper.

From beyond the window comes the second warning whistle.

Tanim throws down the paper and grabs the leather satchel, hastily stuffing in his pocketbook, identification, notebooks, and other personal effects, then rushes out the door with his overcoat slung over one arm.

[ The scene returns to the train station where the second departure warning has cleared the platform of travelers, leaving only a crowd of well-wishers waiting to see off their loved ones. ]

As the shriek of the whistle fades, Daren turns away from the platform and heaves an unwillingly crestfallen sigh. He cannot wait any longer. He must go, and he must go alone. He reluctantly surrenders his ticket to the steward and has just set one foot onto the train when a voice calls out from behind:

“Wait!”

Hope rises too easily in Daren’s chest. He turns back in time to see Tanim hurriedly pushing his way through the crowd. As Tanim reaches the train he crams a ticket into the steward’s grip and turns to Daren, taking the man’s hand in his. Music rises softly as Tanim begins to sing.

“Was I dumb or was I blind? Or did my heart just lose its mind? Why’d I go and throw our perfect dream away?”

A slow smile spreads across Daren’s face. He reaches out to cup Tanim’s face lovingly.

“Looking back, I’ll never know how I ever let you go; but destiny could see we deserved to have another day.”

The music swells, accompanied by the final whistle of the train, as Daren pulls Tanim on board and their voices mix in harmony:

“Love led us here, right back to where we belong. We followed a star and here we are – now heaven seems so near… Love led us here.”

The train rumbles to life with the shudder of waking steam engines. Daren leads Tanim into the passenger car, his hand outstretched in invitation.

“Now I know that life can take you by surprise and sweep you off your feet…”

Tanim catches Daren’s hand in his and draws him close.

“Did this happen to us or are we just dreaming?”

The most epic key change in the history of musicals follows as they embrace and sing together:

“Love led us here, right back to where we belong. We followed a star and here we are – now heaven seems so near… Love led us here.”

The music softens. Daren pulls away enough to hold out his hand.

“So take my hand…”

Tanim entwines his fingers with Daren’s, responding softly,

“and have no fear.”

Daren leads Tanim over to a window seat and they sit, leaning in as if to kiss.

“We’ll be alright… Love led us here.”

[ As the train exits the station, the scene fades to black. ]

(Love Led Us Here – Muppet Treasure Island)

1 thought on “

  1. Pingback: #1634 | Only Fragments

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