Young girls love of the Summer train ride.
Deja loved train rides. As a child, trains spoke to her in a language of wonderment, about broad endless countrysides, and quaint tight passageways where trains passed each other, brushed the trees or squeezed by carved out rock and darkened earth. From getting the ticket punched to the counting of cars. She knew most everything about the trains you’d ever want to know. Summer after summer she’d ride with her brothers to see their Grandparents. The trip, four days long, became for Deja, four days to watch the sky on the move. To watch it brighten with the light of the morning sun and darken, to be lit by the light of the moon. Four days to spy cows, and combines on endless fields, countless white silos along side big short and tall red barns and split log fences.
She’d come to love sitting in the parlor car where the seats swiveled and she could sat facing the passing world all day. She’d ask questions of passing conductors, many of which remembered her, all manner of questions about the train and the trips it made. She soon knew every stop and even how long they’d be. Each morning Deja would dress for the occasion. She’d once seen an old picture in a dining car many years ago, and convinced her mother to let her dress as the little girl had in it. So, Deja would sit in a sort of Sunday dress, pink with ribbon, lace, ruffles and a petticoat and take in all that she saw, imagining how things had changed.
As she grew older she kept notes. All the while, the endless rhythmic sound of the wheels passing over the breaks in the rails and the occasional bells as they crossed roads often comforted her and lulled her to sleep as each night approached. During the day, she’d paste her face to the window every time the train would screech around tight turns just to see the head and back of the train as it snaked around. And when the conductor wasn’t watching she’d stand for a moment between cars to feel the rush of air cool or warm as the train steadily pursued its destination. Sixteen now, she had been a faithful summer passenger on the Silver Flyer for at least the last twelve years she could remember. For Deja, summers always began and ended with, the train ride. For Deja, the train was summer.
So when the conductor leaning over her chair said, “I’ll miss you young lady. I hope you’ve enjoyed riding the Flyer?”
She said, “You won’t be back next year?”
He smiled, “Why, little lady, Now, I thought you knew everything.”
She smiled, sitting up in anticipation of a secret he might tell.
Then he spoke, “This is the last run of the Flyer.”
The words, like falling stones knocked the smile from her face. Seeing this, the conductor saluted her, tapping the brim of his cap, smiled and walked away.
Deja sat for many miles clutching the meaning. She tried not to repeat the words to herself. She thought of all the trips she'd taken, and all the people she’d meet riding this train. She sat turning the pages of her notebook remembering, all their faces and their stories. She sat for many miles. The hour was now, near the end of the fourth day and that's also when she realized, she couldn’t see out the windows anymore. Her tears were in the way.
Word count 565 By Ironworker –Dayna S Ferguson