25 November, 2014

A woman sits on the train

Here is my entry from the last Friday Creativity prompt. 

A woman sits on the train.
image from SimpleScrapper

A woman sits on the train alone.

A woman sits on the train alone going north.

A woman sits on the train alone going north to see her mother for the first time in a decade.

It is not that she does not want to see her mother. She loves her mother. Her mother is springtime and sunshine, warmth and joy. She smells like fresh cookies. Her house is always slightly too warm. There will be a cat in the window and new trinkets of sailboats or lighthouses.

It is the first time she has seen her mother since her divorce. Yes, the divorce was five years ago and she should be passed it. But somehow she fears that nothing she has done, not rising to the top of magazine world, becoming the first woman to edit a major publication, or her apartment near Times Square, will be enough. Her mother drilled into her from the time she was little that she was to get married and settle down. By her age she should have four children. By her age she should be baking quiches and attending knitting clubs, gossiping while her husband does profound things in the city during the day.

She had found that man. A man who bought them a home in Martha’s Vineyard and told her to settle in. And she did. They were going to have a family. She was going to become one of those women in the ads she rolled her eyes at the in the magazine. She was going domestic.

Only it never came. Three months, six, one year then two. And every month she was bewildered when her period came and she had to break the news that she was not pregnant. There were a few months in there when she thought it might happen. The doctor told her she was anemic and to eat more protein.

So he left. Told her to take the apartment downtown (which she promptly sold) and he would keep the house on the Vineyard. Now he was there with someone else, someone who could give him the domestic bliss in those ads she secretly hated.

But she wasn’t bitter. She was happy with her life. She got herself a better place with a view, found a group of friends who didn’t want kids either. They had parties and went out. They loved their freedom, the ability to slip away to the coast or on a cruise and just get away. If you asked her, she would say her life was idyllic in many ways. That is, until she got on the train north to go home.

Turning the page in her book, she hoped the ride would be over soon. She had already worked her way through the stories she brought to edit. She sketched the countryside and tried to sleep. But with nothing else to do, she tried to get into a story she had given up on an hour ago.

Hearing the horn for the next stop, the woman looked to the aisle for a moment. Looking back to her book, she wondered what was waiting for her at the end of her train ride alone going north.  

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© Amanda Lunday