Random Arrivals

A freewrite for your reading pleasure…

One dust-blown station and faded wooden platform is the same as the next all the way across the prairie and I’m half in a doze, the train’s long whistle part of a dream, when someone tumbles into the compartment like a gust of warm, perfumed wind.

“Glory, Halleluiah,” she says, flinging a satchel on the seat across from me, then throwing herself down next to it. “I thought this blasted train would never come. I’ve been scorching out in that sun for an hour, about ready to shrivel up like a dead leaf. You mind the company?”

The last sentence gets mixed up in the one before and I’m slow to respond, staring wide-eyed at this new companion. She’s got brown skin and dark hair, thick and curly and piled on her head as if she’s a society lady on her way to the opera. Her dress is right for the ladies pages in the newspaper, too — all green ruffles and white lace.

“Well, if you’re not wanting company,” she says, sitting up straight as if she might grab her bag and go.

“No!” Maybe Mrs. McLeod was right all this time and my curiosity is stronger than my common sense, because I reach out a hand to stop her. “I mean, yes. I’d be happy to have company. I’ve been on this train so long I’ve lost my manners.”