By Peter Borger
Kira took the 6:45 out of the city, a later train than normal, but these nights she was in no rush to get home and make dinner. She stared out the window and watched the cities turn from day to lights while hearing the conductor call out the stations. She knew these cities, had been to every one of them at one time or another, even lived in a few of them. Tonight, however, she just watched them go by one by one, trying to remember something significant about each one: Oak Park, known for Robinson’s Ribs, Pop’s Drive In in Hillside, Hamburger Heaven in Elmhurst, Barone’s Pizza in Glen Ellyn. She and Jack had frequented these places for over 40 years and knew the owners, the waiters, and car hops by name. Most of them knew the two of them, but it wasn’t the two of them any longer. In fact it had been almost a year. Was that even possible? What was the day? Yesterday it seemed. Being alone was the worst part. Of course, the children were gone, but even with just the two of them they were never alone. Not like this, never like this. A tear rolled down her left cheek, but she didn’t move. Wheaton, the Hole in the Wall Popcorn Shop.
She wondered if she could stay here and just ride the train. There were always people here, she’d never be alone again, West Chicago, General Mills. Her stop was coming, finally the conductor said Geneva, Geneva, Illinois. She tried to get up, but a weariness gripped her and she couldn’t move or didn’t want to. “Are you alright, ma’am?” the conductor asked.
She smiled at him and nodded, “Just a bit weary, it’ll pass.”
My work has appeared in The Sci-Phy Journal, and this story is attached to this e-mail. I grew up with a teacher for a mother and a scientist for a father. They provided a love for written language that I never outgrew. I am now a working writer living just west of Chicago.