Ruth Starr, a watcher of mankind, spins a mysterious tale of a woman abandoned and at a crossroads.
The Train Trip
By Ruth Starr
I woke up and found myself sitting at the railway station. There aren’t many people around. My life is utter turmoil; divorced, and not knowing what is going to happen next. All alone, I stare down the empty tracks. I don’t know where I am going but I don’t think it really matters.
I have no obligations and one place is as good as any other. As I wait, I begin to drift, daydreaming.
My daydream is another life for myself. In my mind’s eye, there is someone waiting for me. He is a handsomely dressed man.
He is meant for me. I see us on a ranch with animals, dogs, and mousing-cats. In my late thirties, I still have time for a few children. Our house will have plenty of room for our family.
His name is Mitch. I love him. This is how things should have… This is how things will be. I will do things right, cooking lessons, managing money, a clean home, taking care of the animals.
Beside me, the wind stirs something which brushes my hand. On the sun-bleached bench next to me, I notice a piece of paper with writing on it. I look around but see no one. My curiosity compels me to pick up the paper and read the message within its folds. “Text me, I’ll be waiting”. What? My dream is so enticing, drifting back to my life with Mitch.
The sound of a train horn barrels into me and reluctantly I return to the station. The paper is on my mind. What if I text that number? I take my phone from my purse. Warily I tap the screen, entering the number. Sweat is dripping down my face. What will I say? “It’s me, Barb”? Who am I texting? My finger hovers over the SEND. Almost by accident, my finger touches the button. I jump as the phone vibrates almost immediately.
“I’ll be waiting,” was the reply.
This is crazy. Who is this? What do I do now? Am I going crazy? This is why Tom left. No, he said I never cooked a decent meal. A wave of warm air overtakes me. I am now standing; before me is the train. Its wide open doors beckon to me.
Panic. Hard to breathe. Do I look okay? I don’t remember what I am wearing. He is waiting at the next stop.
“All Aboard, all aboard,” the conductor cries.
I’m on the train, find a seat. WHAT am I doing? The train is slow so I have time to think before next stop. My mind like water flows back to my dream.
The authoritative voice of the conductor rouses me. “All off for Santa Barbara.”
Looking out the door, I see a smartly dressed man on the platform. Between cars, the doors are agape before me. Bright sunlight floods the platform. There he is, holding a dozen roses. He greets me with a dazzling smile. Pulling me into his arms, his velvety voice speaks to me, “Welcome home, Barb, I’ve been waiting for you.”
My heart racing, I think but I made you up. With that, my resolve crumbles and falling into his embrace, I reply, “It’s so good to see you too, Mitch.”
Ruth Starr’s little kid inside is still active and creative, writing stories since a pre-teen. She observes people and enjoys creating stories.
In 2006, she wrote a story for a local magazine. Since then has had more than 60 stories published. She is a member of Nightwriters, a writing group, and had other stories published in other venues. Magazine can be found online at SLOJournal.com
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