A personal story with a twist - write from the point of view of the opposite gender.
My mother had wanted us to move months before and I had told everyone I was leaving, but then nothing had come of it and my classmates thought I was just making up stories. Then when the time came, we just left. I refused to tell anyone again, they wouldn’t believe me anymore. I expected they didn’t care anyway.
I was sad about going, leaving my Dad and my grandparents, but the idea of taking a train trip was exciting. And it was not just any train – it was the night train.
Mom said we’d have to huddle together in a bunk pulled out of the seats in our own little compartment. Quite an adventure for an eleven year old boy. I had never traveled by train before. I had been on a train, but only as part of a class trip when the Ontario Northlander brought out their new train that traveled from Toronto to Cochrane. That had been about two years ago and it had been only a walk through. All the kids in all the towns had gotten to check it out. I still had the coin commemorating the event.
This was a different train. A night train. It was eleven o'clock when it pulled into the station. It was dark, even inside. Most of the blinds were pulled down over the windows and few lights blazed. Mom said they dimmed them down for this trip. Even the hiss as it pulled into the station was a hush. I watched, taking it all in, but I was already fighting sleep. I did not want to miss any part of this trip. Mom was pretty strict about me being in bed by 9 pm, but tonight was special and besides, she had other things on her mind.
Our cat, Kerry was to be loaded into the baggage car along with our luggage. I was nervous they would leave her behind. That thought alone kept me nervously awake. I did not want her left.
Mom had made sure the cat was drugged up so that she would sleep most of the trip. She told me that was for the best, but I had not liked the fact that Kerry was really out of it. I wanted to stay with her. To keep her safe, but Mom insisted she would be just fine.
The only way Mom could keep me from following the cat’s cage into the baggage car, was to assure me we would go check on her in the morning. Reluctantly, I had let her go.
Still, I refused to get on board until I saw Kerry's cage lifted and put into the baggage car. Only then did I climb aboard and follow my mother to our cabin.
Mom showed her tickets and was directed to the sleeper car. We moved down the aisle that ran along the far side of the car. The lights were low, but we were still able to see. When she stopped at our compartment, she opened the sliding door and we both stood there surveying the tiny room.
It was small. There were two seats. One on either side of the compartment.
"Where do we sleep?" I asked warily.
"There's a board that fits across the seats... I think we use the seat cushions as our mattress." She moved in to search the cupboards and managed to find a set of sheets to cover the bed.
I nodded as I moved in to open a small door. Behind it was a tiny washbasin and a toilet. Our own little bathroom.
"Which way is the baggage car?" I asked anxiously. She pointed to the right and I turned and moved to go out of the car.
"Kerry will be fine." she told me, "We'll head out to see her in the morning."
Her tone stopped me. Tired and anxious. I decided not to push my luck. Instead, I helped her fix up our room. She slid the blind down so that the New Liskeard train station slid from our view. Gone. We really were leaving. I bit my lip as I felt the burn of tears at my eyes. I would not cry. Big boys did not cry.
"In eight hours, we will be in Toronto,” she told me as she moved to set up the bed. She handed me the sheets.
"Then we transfer to another train to take us to Guelph. Aunt Gloria will meet us at the station."
"What about Kerry?"
"She'll come with us."
But that wasn't completely true. Kerry would have to come on a later train, because ours was only a passenger train. Luggage came later. We would be able to pick her up at the train station in Guelph by 5 o’clock. Mom kept this detail to herself. She knew I was already too worried and antsy.
"We'll get some sleep and go see Kerry in the morning."
I pulled on my pajamas while Mom got ready for bed in the little washroom. I crawled across the thin surface of the bed and slid under the covers. Mom had insisted I sleep by the window; I think she worried I would try to slip out and go looking for the cat.
Mom flicked out the light and slid into bed beside me. The quiet seemed to fill the room taking up all the extra space.
I expected not to sleep, but once the nervous anxiety shifted, I was able to fall into a deep sleep. The steady movement of the train helped to lull me. I doubt Mom slept much.
In the morning, I woke with the sunlight beginning to peak in through the bottom of the blind. I got up and dressed quickly, but only after Mom was done getting ready. We went to see Kerry before going for breakfast. Mom knew it was the only way to keep me from wandering off and going looking for her on my own.
The luggage car was close. It was the next one up. We found Kerry as soon as we ventured into the wide, open space filled with bags and boxes of every size and shape. I knelt and pushed my fingers through the cage. She still looked pretty doped up, but she did turn and move towards my voice. I wiggled my fingers in her soft fur and told her she would be okay. She began to purr and I felt a little better.
Beside her cage, not more than six inches away, was another metal cage with a small dog. He was as drugged up as Kerry.
“Hi, buddy.” I said when he tried to move towards me.
Kerry, who was not a big fan of dogs, did not seem to care that he was there.
As I sat there by the cages I looked around. To the rear of the car were several long boxes. I pointed them out. "What are those?"
Mom looked over at them and said, "Caskets."
She nodded. "When someone has died their body is sent home to be buried. They are just traveling home this way..."
"In the baggage car?"
"In the baggage car."
Little did I know that in three months a similar casket would be carrying my father back to my hometown after he lost his battle with cancer. He had gone to Toronto’s Princess Margaret Hospital for treatment. We didn’t find out about his cancer until after we moved.
Word Count = 1328.
Fiction Writing Workshop - April 2019 ▼