The Determined Passenger

From a Prompt created at a writing group I joined called “Bancroft Manor”

At The Crossroads

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I ride the same train to and from work five days a week.

I  take the same seat next to the window near the middle of the car  so I  can charge my phone, God knows why I hardly ever get calls or texts.

I suppose I do that because it’s what one does and when one is in public one makes the effort to belong.

One day a new passenger got on the train and of all the seats she could have taken, she took the one in front of me.

She smiled.

I did not because it didn’t matter what I said or did. I doubt if she even really saw me.

The new person, phone in hand gave it a little swipe with her finger and then she disappeared, as most people do, into the small screen.

I was relived.

New people…

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The Journey Started Somewhere

I’m participating in a great on line writing workshop that was created by Heather Blakey of the Soul Food Café . This is my response to the first prompt. If you’d like to share in the adventure check out the link provided in my post ( The World of Georgina McClure)

At The Crossroads

Inspired by a new Creative Adventure :

The World of Georgina McClure

Photo by Guillaume Meurice on Pexels.com

How far would you go to save someone you care about?

How far would you run or fly or crawl

to save somebody else?

How far would you go to save

yourself?

Have you ever tried, was it worth it? Did it matter

at all?

We all come from somewhere

and I suppose in the end we all end up in the same place

with the same question in our eyes

and frozen on our lips.

But before I do that, before I  give up the ghost

I’m going to make one final trip, I’m going to give myself one last chance

to use the key, I’ve kept hidden in my guitar case

and open a door with the bronze hinges shaped like hands

and

go somewhere, because I came from someplace

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There Were Dogs In The Trees

My childhood friend died a few years ago.

She lived around the block from where I lived and we used to do the normal stuff that kids do.

We rode bikes, climbed trees, played with our Barbie dolls and roller-skated to the corner store for Slurpees and penny candies.

The other thing, the biggest thing we had in common was our love for dogs.

We had our own dogs, but we didn’t stop there.

If we saw dogs, we asked to pet them. We’d play with the neighborhood dogs and walk them. We would go to the library and check out books about dogs.

We collected toy dogs and wore t-shirts with dog decals and long before it became fashionable we used to wear our dog’s old collars around our wrists or even around our necks.

Then my friend died- it was unexpected and it was a cruel death- I can’t say more then that. Not because I don’t want to, but when I think about how to describe it I can hear dogs howling.

And my heart breaks all over again.

 

My friend’s childhood home was sold and the profit went to her sons and I guess life moved on for us all. It just moved sort of sideways in my case.

One day I was out walking my new puppy. He was a little guy at the time, so we didn’t go far. Just around the corner and that’s when we met the family that had moved into my friend’s house.

The Mom was a nice young woman, she was around my son’s age and her children were very small. They asked to pet my puppy and we chatted about her new house.

” I think the family who lived here were really into dogs- ”

It seemed best to not say anything about my friend or the fact that her back yard had been designed for her dogs- there was a dog run, a well built dog house, trees to lounge under. It was pretty much a great place to hang out if you were a dog and you owned a few children.

Besides, this family was on the edge of making a life and my new neighbor was so excited to share her story with me.

Me and my friend and her last dog to live in that yard didn’t need to be part of that story- or so I thought.

She went on, ” they must have been big dogs, but it’s great. We promised the kids we’d get them a dog when we got the house and look at that yard. It’s going to be wonderful for them!”

I’m sure of it, I said with real  enthusiasm.

 

About a month later I saw my now familiar neighbors out walking their two new dogs and we stopped to chat just at the end of their driveway.

She asked the boys to take the dogs in for water and they sort of turned into this mass of fur and barking and laughing  kids bodies all mushed together and they burst across the yard and I flinched just a little when I hear the gate to their back yard click open and then bang shut-still,  it was great.

” I was wondering, ” my neighbor asked ” what you know – I mean if you know anything about my house or maybe knew the people who lived there.”

” Well. Yeah. I do. What’s up?”

” We love it here, don’t get me wrong. But when the people you know lived here- did they ever see anything, I mean, this is going to sound-”

” I know the house is old, so I was wondering if there were any stories about it. ”

It was an old house, but it wasn’t that old. I was curious. ” What kind of stories?”

She took a breath.  ” Did, I know this is going to sound awful. But did any children ever die here?”

” No. And I know that for a fact.”

” Well. It’s just that sometimes in the evening when I let my dogs out for their run in the yard- over there by the trees. I saw, I think I saw a little girl. And then she wasn’t there.”

She could not say it. She could not say the word ” ghost “.

I couldn’t either. I was distracted. I was hearing something- dogs barking- but of course the dogs I was hearing weren’t the ones in her yard or my yard or any of the yards around us.

They barking, I think, from a long time ago.

 

My friend had passed away in her early late 40’s. She loved her sons she loved her new home which was 60 miles away from her childhood home. I couldn’t imagine her as a ghost coming back to this house.

And let me tell you, me and my friend had very active imaginations where anything was possible. That was an attitude we took into adulthood with us.

” I think, ” I said ” that this was a great place to play and grow up. I think a lot of kids used to come over here with their dogs and they played with the kid who lived here. See those trees where you saw the, um, the little girl? There was a tree house there and somehow the kid who lived here and her friend got a full grown Malamute up there and a year old Retriever. They never told anyone how they did it. The problem was they couldn’t get them down and the Fire Department had to help them all out of the tree house.”

” You’re joking.”

” No. It was actually a big deal. And the four of them were really stuck and I think even the dogs were embarrassed. So they never brought it up with anyone except with each other.”

” So the girls in the tree, the  one who lived here- they both grew up. They didn’t, they grew up. Right?”

” Yep. They did. ”

” I know what I saw.” she said firmly this time.

” You know, I believe you. But whoever or whatever you saw- it’s not a bad thing. I think you’re seeing something…I think you’re seeing a happy moment for someone. That’s what I think.”

” I can live with that. We can live with that.” she told me.

And as far as I know- they still are.

Photo A. Moscoso

Don’t Mind Me, I’m Just Sitting Here

Last week I was on the train to work

and a man, a woman my age and a young woman sat next to me.

They were chit chatting about work- which I believe involved insurance- so I tuned them out and dove into my book  Gwendy’s Box by Stephen King. I love Stephen King and the dialogue in this book really had a great rhythm to it so I was engrossed and then the young woman got giggly and animated.

In a rah, rah cheerleader voice she said,

” I saw the HR person come into the meeting room and I knew she wasn’t supposed to be at this meeting so I told ( name of person ) who was sitting next to me that either someone died or someone was going to get fired. Well I guessed right, you know that guy that sits behind us ( name of department they work in )?  Well . He died.  I was right. I mean, I totally nailed it. He died over the weekend.”

She was positively giddy- look at me I am SO smart she announced to everyone sitting around her.

I looked up from my book and I’m not sure what the expression on my face said, but the woman my age looked at me and  said ” Oh wow, that’s too bad. I mean that’s really sad news.”

The man in the group tossed out a random factoid ( I suppose he was trying to change the subject or shut her up )  about meetings where people had to take a test, if you provide them with water and snacks they relax because we are wired to feel secure if our basic need for things like food are met.

I wanted to ask if their stress levels changed when you closed the door, but really I did not want to take part in the freak show that was happening right in front and right beside me.

So, I put my book back up to my face and I thought, ” you know Stephen King, I think Little Miss Commuter has at least three of your weirdest characters beat- Trash Can Man from ” The Stand “, the lady who wore Elvis’ shades in ” Needful Things ” and Grady from ” The Shining”

I was relieved when they got off a few more stops down the line and when they did  I got up and changed seats.

Why?

I guess in that space, on that train I saw humanity hit a new low and I wanted to get as far away from that spot as I could.

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