chapter one


I've seen that look before, sometimes on my own face.

I'm standing in a train station waiting for the 10:35 Amtrak to Cincinnati. It would be a long, several day journey, but I hated, hated, hated flying. With a passion. The place smelled like old wood, age, and cleaning products.

There was a man sitting in the corner, arms wrapped around himself, nose buried in a book, trying to disappear into the marble wall or the ancient wooden bench. Waiting for his train, I presumed. Like all of us. How many people for how many years had waited here? Mothers, fathers, kids, going to college, returning from war...for 80 years at least.

His phone rang and he pulled it out of his coat pocket. He read a message, shook his head, typed something, then put the phone back in his pocket. He never rebuttoned his coat around the plump belly that was stretching out the sweater he was wearing. He pulled out a handkerchief, a real old fashioned handkerchief, and dried his eyes.

He probably didn't want to be bothered, I repeated to myself, but I sat down near him. "I hate to intrude, but are you okay?" I ask.

"Yeah, thank you for your concern, loss in the family", he says tightly.

"I'm sorry", I say, and feel like an idiot. How many times has he heard that recently?


Of course a beautiful blonde would talk to me when I have tears running down my face. When I'm off home to bury George.

I pull out my phone and show it to her.

"My brother, the one on the right", I say.


A picture appears of three boys. All young, smiling, and trim. I recognize him as the guy on the left, who looked around 170 pounds in the pic. He has to have put on nearly 100 since then.

"My God, I'm so sorry", I say.

"Yeah, he was a great brother. Gonna catch more hell for this", he says, patting his belly.

"Car accident", he adds.

"I...." And he erupts into tears. I wrap my arms around him. He cries for a moment, then I let go.

"You want some coffee?" I ask, "Because I want some coffee." I can smell the waft of it from the concession.

"Sure", he says.

I take off my jacket, and drop my purse.

"Oh no..." I gather everything quickly.

"Got it", he says, handing it to me.

I walk over to the concession stand.

The loud speaker booms "Boarding now for the 10:35 to Cincinnati..."

"I gotta go!" I call.

"Me too!" he calls back.


Ball like a baby, dude, of course.

Time for my train. I pick up her jacket and the scent of a dark vanilla bean perfume hits me. Instantly I sit back down. I can't do this. Do I have the strength to go face this? The last time on this earth I'll be in the same room with my brother's body.

I stand, and accidentally kick something. A red tube goes rolling across the floor. I pick it up. Fresh, it says. Rose Extreme. It's complicated to open, but I get it open. It's some kind of lip balm. I inhale. Roses. A bouquet of red roses.

Oh Christ. I clutch her belongings close to me, unable to shield myself from my feelings this time. Why can this never happen to me?

But is it? Am I so wrapped up that this was thrown in my lap, but I can't see it?

I jump, with energy, for the first time in a long time.

"Miss, you forget your coat! Miss!"

I try to run after her. But she's stopped. Waiting for me.
1 chapter, created StoryListingCard.php 9 years
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FrecherTyp 9 years
oh a really lovely encounter smiley and a really smart move of her to leave her coat ^^ sure i would have stood up and run after her , too^^
Littleextra 9 years
Very enjoyable. A lot conveyed in a few words too. Bravo.
Built4com4t 9 years
keep it coming...brilliant first chapter