The mist from the morning rain rose like tiny clouds, blending with the smoke from the train. A conductor walked out onto the steps near the platform. Checked his watch. Jane wondered if it ticked with the same rhythm of her heart. Or of the too-small spike-heeled pumps she wore. The ones he'd chosen to match her red dress and the umbrella he carried over her head. In front of them, not by more than twenty steps, another couple--she in red, he in a trench coat matching Jane’s husband's--had made it to the car in the middle. The one they'd ride over the next week. Unless, of course ... She darted her eyes to the ornate door of the station, and the hair pulled tight in her chignon tugged. She winced. His hand, cinched around her arm, closed in tighter. "Look ahead," he said. "And don't even think about it."
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Times have changed. Everybody's in a hurry. Few ever sit and talk. Long ago, lovers met and share intimate secrets. They laughed, snuggled and planned for the future.ReplyDelete
Others waited for their table, telling jokes over drinks from the bar.
Children sat with their mother eating hot dogs and fries. They anticipated the arrival of their father on the next train. They giggled and played. Toy cars whizzed along my slats. Fairy princesses hoped a handsome prince would rescue them.
Some grieved, returning home to bury a loved one or recover from a broken relationship. I gave them comfort and support.
Today I sit in the rain and the world passes me by. Look at that couple. You could lay a plastic bag over me and sit for awhile. Maybe share a secret or snuggle under the umbrella.
Somebody, please stop and sit for a spell.
“You will write to me … won’t you?” He pulled her close under the red umbrella, whispering earnestly as they made their way toward the waiting train.ReplyDelete
Time was running out. He didn’t care if he sounded anxious or needy. He didn’t care that his eyes were brimming. He needed her. He needed every bit of her—from the silly parts, like how her umbrella had to match her dress—to the parts he would never understand, like no matter how close he got to her, it was never close enough.
Funny, he noticed the couple ahead of them also wore a trench coat and red dress. But they seemed to be miles apart from each other. He couldn’t let that happen.
“You will write …?”
“Volumes.” she whispered back, her eyes swimming as well.
He wondered why they even bothered with an umbrella. It was raining much more underneath.
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Claire secured the pillbox to her sleek dark hair at just the right angle, her red dress fit trimly against her torso; lipstick and rouge coordinated with both her dress and umbrella. One spray of his favorite perfume and she’d be ready.ReplyDelete
"Wait. Are my seams straight?"
Arden sent his car for her. His pre-dawn meeting would keep him occupied until a hasty departure for their rendezvous at the train station.
"Drat this rain, but the forecaster said it would be clear in Versailles."
Their romance had barely begun, but he felt Claire was the woman he’d been waiting for. Now of all times, he would be on assignment for three months.
In post-war France, a strange place for two Americans, both single, to meet, life was taking on a semblance of normalcy again. Their bodies pressed together, slowing their pace toward the platform where one kiss must last "forever."
Daphne’s heels clicked like hiccups on the wet pavement. Muddled reflections were a stark contrast to the reality of George’s stiff arms, the perfect angle at which he held the umbrella, and the precise tailoring of his cuffed trousers. George was a perfectionist and he demanded that Daphne follow suit, right down to the seam in her nylons, which he often aligned with a ruler.ReplyDelete
“I think this is the moment you’ve been waiting for…” George announced, gesturing toward the conductor.
Daphne’s eyes followed a billow of steam rising from beneath the train. The path led her to the conductor’s face. It was Phillip. The same Phillip who had left her heart shattered two years prior to meeting George. She let out a taut gasp.
“What is it, dear?” George asked, slowing his pace.
“You’re right. This is the moment I’ve been waiting for.”
Maurice smiled down at me as he touched my hat with his. The simple act spoke volumes. A sign the distance between us was closing. How long had it been? Since we touched, and smiled, even breathed as we had this weekend? We squeezed together under the big umbrella- the way we used to. Before the accident, before the pain.ReplyDelete
Playfully, we contemplated the couples ahead, one dressed much like us, the other just walking our way. We concocted a tale: Were they spies on a covert assignment? And what about that case by the bench? We laughed. It was a beautiful sound. A sound too long unheard.
The train groaned and hissed. The conductor checked his watch against the station clock and sighed. As far as I was concerned, time could stand still. How many second chances were there anyway? If this was ours, I didn't want to rush.
Paul scanned the street while he walked in the rain. He squeezed the arm of the woman next to him, feeling her shiver in the cold. The gang must have lost them at this point. He needed to blend in.ReplyDelete
The woman glanced up at him. “Where are you taking me?”
It suddenly occurred to him that he didn't know her name. He looked down at her and shook his head—if he told her where they were going, she’d leave. He needed her to come with him—it created a different profile of him, a profile that the gang wouldn't recognize. Plus he’d changed clothes completely—and the dumb thugs wouldn't be able to recognize him, especially from the back. He slid his hand down to his pocket, where his derringer lay concealed.
The thugs were toast if they even came close.
“Keep walking and don't look back,” says the man next to me.ReplyDelete
I push my trembling legs forward. Each step is like lifting bricks with my feet. “I am.” How can he keep going when he knows what's coming?
If they catch us, they will crush us.
The man looks straight ahead. Another man in a suit nods at him, but he doesn't nod back.
Maybe it's because he can't.
“Good thing we left our luggage at the bench.” I glance at the train next to me. “We're not getting on?”
“No, it's safer in the city. I bought them to trick 'em.”
My foot catches in a puddle, and I stumble. I'm turned around, and I catch sight of a man and woman. My eyes go wide.
The man who looks just like the one next to me nods. The woman wears different clothes but there's no mistaking that face. My face.
And then I wave at me.
If us catches us, us will crush us.
The rain fell steadily as did the tears that were streaming down her face. Up until this moment life had seemed perfect, she thought that they would live happily ever after just like the fairytales had promised.ReplyDelete
She didn't plan on finding herself pregnant and that if she happened to get pregnant that he would love her and this life they created. He told her that he loved her, but a baby just did not fit into his plans.
He had Law School to finish, places to go and he wanted her by his side, but he did not want to be a father. He had arranged for her to travel to Paris for her to have an abortion and as they walked he leaned into her begging her not to change her mind, not to ruin their future.
With tears streaming down her face, she knew that she could not kill her unborn child and that once she got on the train life as she had known it would never be the same.
This one <3ReplyDelete
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