A light glimmers on the leaves, casting shadows on the lush lawns as I seek my adventure, traveling across this great land. I capriciously took the quickest and nearest seat to the front on the overcrowded train ride. “All aboard,” the conductor bellowed, ambling down the aisle, beads of sweat on his brow with nimble fingers punch star shapes validating our tickets. A disingenuous dark-hair woman sat next to me, apologetic about her large overstuff carpetbag seated on the floor between us.
She continued to chat as the active but noiseless steel wheels sail across the iron rails. However, I gazed out the window and found myself captivated by the magnificent inexplicable countryside, leaving the phantom of city life behind. Familiarity fades as my journey begins, and with it, security is pushed aside for exploration. With wide-eyed wonder like a child, I look forward to what lies ahead,
“Adventure” was how my father referred to his travels across the country, “You never know what you will find beyond the next bend.”
“Adventure,” I said, partly to myself and my traveling companion.
“What, did you s-s- say?” she asked
“O-o- okay,” she said, with a tiny breath of air escaping her thin lips.
Somber and quietly, hands folded on her lap, something profoundly different as we sat next to each other. In contrast, others on the train are giddy with excitement. A burst of cheery musical laughter from the back of the car made me smile, And for a moment, I saw a grin on her face.
Bright and jocund, I introduce myself. “Hi, my name is Pau’red.”
“My name is m-m- Mary.”
“Nice to meet you, Mary,” I said, “Where are you traveling to?”
“H- home,” she said, “What about y-y-you?”
Oh, nowhere special, wherever fate takes me.”
The gentle swaying lulls me to sleep as my eyes drift shut. I found myself in another time, back when I was a child saying goodbye to my father as he boarded a train. I remembered seeing the tears falling from my momma’s brown eyes down her red-cheek face as she waved to him. Was it the first time he traveled? Or was it the second or third time? I have almost forgotten the saddest in my momma’s eyes. What was it about his travels that lured him away from us? He always came home, bringing gifts. Still, when he was gone, things were hard on us, particular when he stayed away for longer than a week, But, after my momma died, my dad called me one day and asked to meet with me, saying that he wanted to explain why he traveled so much.
“My dear daughter,” he said,” I want to tell you why I had always traveled as much as I did.”
“That’s okay, Papa. You don’t need to explain.”
“Yes, I do,” he said, “I have ‘gypsy blood.” In my veins.”
“A relentless need to travel. Like our ancestors, who made their way across the county, always moving from one area to the next. Do you understand, Pau’red?”
“Oh, okay, I guess.”
Leaning my face against the glass as the warmth of the sun gently caresses my cheek, waking me up from my dream. That was when I caught a glimpse of the long snakelike tracks lying before us. The engineer slows down the train as he guides her through the mountains—a clear musical sound of the whistle echoes in the valley, a vast, untamed land. The fleeting splendor from the sun rises over the horizon.- A subtly thrilling long and solitary building comes into view.
Two short blasts as the engineer decrease our speed going around the bend approaching the building. The conductor walks through our car, announcing that the train will be stopping. It is here where my travel companion, Ms. Mary, departs. After we had said goodbye, a sadness overwhelms my heart, a feeling that I was losing a dear friend. But, we had only known each other for a brief encounter. However, as my momma had always said, “Child, there are never strangers, only people we never had met”
And after a few patrons had disembarked, another group of individuals boarded the train. An admirably cynical man with a furrowed brow sits down next to me, wearing a tweed coat and paints, on his silvery lank hair, a dusty old hat, holding a sleek black umbrella in his left hand. I pause for a second, clearing my throat
“Hi, my name is.. -“
“I beg your pardon, Ms? But I do not care to engage in mindless chatter.”
“Pau-?” he said
“Pau’red, It’s a combination of both of my parents' first names
“As I have said, Ms. I do not wish to chat with anyone, especially an American.”
Fearful but curious, “Excuse, but why don’t you want to talk to me? After all, it’ll make the trip go faster.”
Noble and calmer, he answered, “Ms, I meant no disrespect to you nor America. I prefer to travel without any unnecessary conversation.
“Oh, sure, no problem,” peering out the window, avoiding any unwarranted conversation with my newest and silent companion. My eyelids are starting to grow heavier-
“You were snoring.”
This ordinary trip turned out to be an adventure on its’ own, with the two companions that I had the pleasure of knowing—the first a most intriguing lady and now this daring gallant man. An inexplicable journey, as I anticipate what I will find at the end of my travel. The engineer slows down the train when the conductor announces our stop. Coming into view is a peculiarly unique lake, with a luxurious-looking cabin a few yards up from the beach.
“Excuse me, Sir,” I said, squeezing past him, ambling down the aisle toward the door, glancing back, giving a quick wave goodbye to my companion, down the steps, and onto a new journey. I scurried toward the lake, and the air is crisp with a golden yellow sun against a clear blue sky.
“Breathtaking,” I said, sitting cross-legged on the blanket, titling my neck, back drinking in the scenery, a gentle breeze accented by the aroma of honeysuckle, as the warmth of the sun beating down, tingling my skin. A delighted end of my travel, as I close my eyes, listening to the cheerful music of the birds.
“Adventure,” I whisper, remembering my fathers' last words before his final journey took him home to be with my momma in Heaven.