Thursday, December 12, 2013

A Train to Christmas

(350 words)
A Train to Christmas

“A twain?  Yea!” Milly’s eyes twinkled.
Light snow was falling. I wished we’d worn boots.  I’d have to carry her to the train station.

I scooped Milly, then my bag from the car. The flakes were getting bigger, the station harder to see.

We boarded the hissing train.  I put Milly by the window and sat down beside her.
“I can see ow-ah cah!”  The window fogged immediately.  She made an S with her finger.

The train lurched forward.  First stop Chicago, then on to Boston. We settled in with crayons and paper.  We would get there the day before Christmas, and she’d experience that special Christmas Eve and morning like the ones I’d known as a child.

Eat, bathroom, nap, color, read...repeat.  The train slowed to a crawl.  "Frozen tracks," they announced.  We inched our way to Chicago.

When we finally arrived at the Chicago station, it was midnight; there were no more trains that night.  Weary, we got a motel room for the rest of the night, but needed to return to the station early to catch the train to Boston.

In the morning, we sat in the station with new tickets for a train leaving any minute to take us home for Christmas. It would have to hurry; it was the day before Christmas and we weren’t even close to home.  Milly wasn’t familiar with Christmas, being 3 years old, but I was. This was not how it was supposed to be.

Frozen tracks. One hour delay.

“Aah we awmos day-uh?”
“No, Milly, but we’ll get on the train soon.”

More delays.  No trains were leaving. Hundreds of people crowded the station now, all waiting. It was getting so late.

I glanced at the woman sitting beside us.  Was she going to visit grandchildren? She smiled, offering Milly a homemade Christmas cookie.

Suddenly, in that vast station echoed the beautiful sounds of a French horn, played by another stranded traveler. 
“Silent Night, holy night...”
Hundreds of people hushed. 
We didn’t have to be somewhere special for it to happen - Christmas Eve had found us.

6 comments:

  1. Aw-sweet-don't you wonder how many stories were in those people waiting in the big stations long ago? Good luck in the contest!

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    1. Oh, wow. I'd forgotten I'd posted this. I'd originally done it for the Challenge, then decided against it, and was going to post it for Christmas Eve. I guess I forgot to unschedule it! No matter. I'll just double up! I didn't think this would really be a good kids' story, as much as a short story more for family or adults. It's a true story, except Milly was my son, and my daughter was 7 months old and my husband was there, too. That was too many people for 350 words, though! It was a wonderful Christmas Eve. We got home the day after Christmas instead of the day before!

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  2. Great story! And Milly now has her own memories of what makes a Christmas "special."

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    1. Thanks, Chris! Oh, for cellphones with cameras back then (well, there weren't even cellphones)! I would love to have recorded those precious notes filling the train station that night!

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  3. Nice resolution. Even though they were not where they wanted to be, they were able to enjoy Christmas after all.

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