“The Mystical Train Ride”
A Short Story
I knew her, from where, I wasn’t sure. But I knew her. That I was sure of.
Everything about her was familiar. The orange hair, yes, it was orange. The light blue eyes, freckles that spotted her nose. A thin frame, with long arms and legs, and hands that never stopped talking.
I’d been watching her during the entire train ride. I was embarking on a journey that was described to me by my travel agent as a mystical ride I would never forget.
She was animated, then reserved. She would alternate a look of complete happiness, only to be followed by a look of utter despair on her youthful looking face.
I didn’t catch a hint of make-up. There were no signs that she gave a hoot of her appearance, yet I could tell she did care, in little ways.
Unusual looking hoop earrings, a jade stone set in a gold ring that was on her right thumb. I looked down at my thumb and rubbed the simple silver ring I’d worn on my left thumb since I was 18.
She was giving casual attention to the book in her lap. From what I could see, it was a book about how dogs talk to us. I smiled, thinking of my boyfriends Lab and how he talks to us whenever he feels so inclined.
The mountain range rushed by as I took a look outside, and though the scenery was breath-taking, I was more obsessed with the woman sitting across from me on this train ride to some sort of mystical experience.
I remember, from a time long since passed, that we had a dog named ‘Marbles’ when I was a young one. Mom named him such because when he barked, it wasn’t the bark of the normal dog but a muted rumbling in his mouth, sounding as if he had a mouth full of marbles.
Mom died when I was 13 years old. Now 45 years old, I can gather fuzzy memories of her and her ways, never quite sure that what I’m remembering was of her, or that what I’m remembering is of the ways I want her to be in my imagination.
Dad continued to provide for me after Mom died, sharing all he could of her. He never remarried and lives with me in a townhome in the city. He’s in his late 60’s and in ill health, but continues his dedication to the only woman he ever loved – my mother.
I will catch a glimpse of him, late at night as I get ready for bed, he, in his room with only a lamp on, looking at old photos of him and Mom doing their everyday from years and years ago. I close his bedroom door each night, leaving him to remember as he so chooses.
The train arrived at its first scheduled stop. Time to stretch the legs and walk a bit.
The young woman was already out of the train car, walking about the train station, stopping here and there to look at a shop’s offerings, or a gander at a headline of the local newspaper.
She caught me watching her – she gave me a smile and started to walk toward me.
She offered her slender hand to me and asked, “you don’t remember me, do you?”
I was completely befuddled and could only offer “should I?”
“Your father sent me to you. You were 13 when I last saw you. Do you remember how you use to play with the jade ring on my thumb? Do you remember telling me that I was the only person you knew who had orange hair? Do you remember how I held you in my arms each night as you went to sleep?”
I frantically looked around, thinking I was completely out of my mind.
“Don’t fret,” she said, still holding my hand. “I am whom you know I am. Your father asked that I visit you. He didn’t ask that I talk directly to you. I decided that upon myself.
I am here to remind you of the love I’m allowed to give you – with me being beyond the realm, and you still here. How I miss you, and how I miss your father.
If you can remember, tell him I am here, on the other side, waiting for him. And never forget, that your Mother is here on the other side as well, loving you completely while you still assume the body, and waiting to love you eternally when the gods decide to let you loose from the chains of your earthly existence.
The both of you will be with me here soon, as life on earth is beyond that of a deeply disturbed society, and your rest must come before the entrails left upon the earth devour the beautiful souls of you, my daughter, and your father…my husband.
Steel your gaze upon me, never forgetting that we shall all soon be reunited in the eternal, and once there, we shall love each other through eternity.”
Tonight’s musical offering:
Leonhard Roczek – Cello, Herbert Schuch – Piano – Arvo Pärt: “Spiegel im Spiegel”