Waiting For a Train

Contributor: Brian Coyle

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Victoria arrives at the train station late one evening as she always does: her hair tied tightly back into a bun as to stretch back any unsightly features that may hang from her face and dressed in sleek, thoroughly-Ironed business attire. She takes her phone out from her purse and begins a text, all the while reading aloud what she is typing. “Just got to train station. Be there in thirty.” Normally she would make this trip alone: no one in their right mind wants to take a train this late, but for Victoria it was her only means to get to her downtown job on time. However, this time was different. She could smell him before she had seen him: an elderly man dressed in rags sitting quietly in the corner. Her perfectly painted eyes meet his sad and tired eyes for an instant before she looks away in disgust. “Please don’t make him come over here.” Victoria repeatedly whispers to herself. Her pleas for solitude fall on deaf ears as the vagabond limps forward and slouches down into the seat beside her own.

The old man tries his hardest to make himself look presentable: combing back his greasy gray hair before stating, “Well hello, miss. What’s yours that’s mine is Jasper?”

Victoria gives Jasper a look in disgust. “Charmed.”

“Charmed? My that’s an odd sort of name. But city folk ‘round here been namin’ their kin all sorts a peculiar things as I always say. You know I met this one fella in this station the other day, goes by the name Patron. Now what respectable person would name their son after a bottle of…” Victoria cuts Jasper off.

“Sir, would you kindly stop talking. Patron is a common name and mine is not ‘Charmed’. It’s Victoria. Now will you please leave me alone?”

Jasper sits back in his chair deep in thought and Victoria changes seats in a different section of the station. Moments later Jasper follows and sits beside her once more. “I like you, Victoria. You have a prettier name than all the others that come by to visit ol’ Jasper.”

“I did not come here to visit you, old man, and I don’t think anyone ever has. I just want to sit here and wait for my train to get here.” Victoria rummages through her purse and retrieves a small cellphone. The phone turns on with a beep and states that Victoria has neither new calls nor new messages.

“Well isn’t this just a fine how do you do. All ol’ Jasper trying to do is strike up a conversation with someone who looks as lonely as he and you cast him out. Do you like being alone, miss?”

“I am not alone, Jasper. I have plenty of colleagues at work.” She states as she places the phone back into her purse.

“Aye, but are they here now? Why do you not go with them instead of sitting alone at a train station?”

“There is a good reason for that. It is because…” Victoria’s voice trails off at the sudden realization that she has no real explanation to his question.

“Figured as much. I think I hear your train coming. Since you are too good for ol’ Jasper, I will leave you to your business. Good day to you, ma’am.” Jasper limps back to his corner of the station as the train rolls into a halt.

As the metal doors of the train slide open, Victoria rises from her chair and starts towards the awaiting vehicle, hesitating momentarily to gaze upon the lonely vagabond. Once more she checks her phone to find that she has still not received any messages. “Hey Jasper.” Jasper raises his head from a pile of newspaper. “Would you like to ride with me? There are plenty of open seats.”

Jasper jumps up with excitement. “You know in all my years I’ve been sitting in this station, no one has ever offered me a ride. Sure I’ll go with you.”

Victoria and her newfound friend step into the brightly lit train car and take their seats as the train drives off into the night.

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I am from Buffalo, N.Y. and am currently living and attending Full Sail in Orlando. Mostly I write for action but I am branching out into more dramatic pieces.
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