Sneak Peek at The Last Train
I felt Harry’s eyes on me, but did not look at his expression. Many people often stared at me, and I was unsure as to why, but I did not favor the option of staring back at them. I was honestly afraid of what they may have been looking at me for. Did I look odd? I looked in the broken mirror of Mother’s room everyday, and thought I looked like her, and she looked to be normal, and no one stared at her obsessively. So why did they stare at me? But thinking about that, only made me think, why did I stare at Harry? Well, I stared at Harry because he was like me, and I liked seeing that.
Often though, I wouldn’t even realize what I was looking at, my eyes would be there, but my mind was not. My mind was often elsewhere in the small world, searching, thinking… Thinking of uneven people and the world beyond what I’d seen. My mother didn’t approve of such thought, but I couldn’t help it. She told me I’d never be anything more than a girl, a wife and mother one day, and that was it. But what if there was more for me? What if I could have been more? What if I could have been like those men on the last train, heading for Cincinnati in the morning? I knew I was different, I was like Harry, but how to display that difference? I didn’t know.
“Back to your house now?” Harry asked quietly, and I only nodded. The train was out of sight then, and I gazed only at the empty place of which it had been, the ghost of which I felt I could still see.
It was a quiet ride back to my home, and I found the small tapping of the horses’ hooves quite soothing actually. And then, after Harry had lit the lanterns so the horses could see in the dim, fading light of day bleeding into the night, I gazed off into the cornfields. I felt something touch my hair and peaked over; it was Harry. He hesitated and touched my hair again, seeming to play with it almost. It felt nice, soothing also like the sound of the hooves. It reminded me of when I was younger, and Mother would comb my hair at night after my baths. She didn’t do that anymore.
Harry didn’t say anything, but continued to brush through my hair with his long fingers. I broke the silence, but only barely, when I said, “How old are you Harry?”
“Twenty-six.” He answered. I was sixteen.
I tried to find a way to form what I was planning on saying coherently. But converting my thoughts to words had always been a difficult task I often couldn’t finish. I had to this time though, I had to ask him, and finally I managed well enough. “You’re… like me, aren’t you? You’re… different, you’re like… uneven. I mean, not in a bad way, but you’re…” I stopped when he smiled.
“Well Rosalina, I believe that’s the most amount of words I’ve ever heard you say.” I felt a small flush in my cheeks and he smiled again, continuing to pick through my hair. “Yes, I believe I am like you Rose.”
We didn’t say any more for the rest of the ride, and when I arrived at home, I gave Mother what I had, and she brought Harry and I in for supper, that was another reward for Harry when he rode us into town: supper. It was a very good meal, and Mother spoke a lot, mostly asking Harry things, of which he answered with the shortest answers possible. I only spoke when necessary, and that wasn’t, thankfully, very often. The only times I did speak, Mother made me speak louder, and I didn’t like that.
When I went to bed that night, I was thinking of how Harry said he was like me, and when thinking about that, I had some questions. I wondered if Mother would let me go into town with him again next time. Or if maybe I could catch him on Saturday when he came to help us work in the fields, maybe I could talk with him about our shared unevenness then, or if maybe being uneven was an unspoken thing… I wasn’t sure.