It’s been exactly two years. I can still remember getting that phone call like it was yesterday…
Well, first comes the text message, but I think it’s just another scare. I’d gotten this kind of message before, and they’d all resulted in no incident. Just a few days of tense waiting, and then: oh, no, crisis averted, carry on with life. But this time is different. She’s sure.
I ask all the compulsory questions- “Who?” “When?” “But really, are you sure?” “What are you going to do now?”
“I’m on my way. You’re not doing this alone.”
She tries to protest, but I shut her down with one question- “If it were me, would you come?”
Check the train schedule, throw clothes in a bag, desperately ask for a ride to the station. No cash? Three roommates thrust twenties into my hands, and I’m in a friend I’ve grown apart from’s car, breathing deeply and trying not to panic.
“Is everything okay?”
“No, not really.”
“Shit- good luck. I’ll pray for you.”
“Thanks.” I wonder if it’ll help? A quick hug, and I’m out, slamming the door behind me and running to the track.
Waiting on the platform, it starts to hit me. My eyes fill against my will and I’m breathing heavy. Where the fuck is this goddam train? Three minutes late.
Fifteen feet away, two middle-aged women saddled with bright red rolling suitcases and the chatter of a corporate friendship are watching me rock back and forth nervously on my heels. I look at them- “The Amtrak headed to Rhode Island will be coming on this track, right?”
One of them nods quickly, her eyes squinted in concern, but not enough to ask. She continues watching me watch her for a moment and then looks away. Finally, the train’s lights appear down the curve and I get ready to get on.
Hand the woman my ticket and collapse into the first available seat, across from a clearly new couple that eyes me accusatorily, as though I’ve just plopped down between them in their own bedroom. “I’ll move as soon as a seat opens up,” I tell them. They inspect my wild eyes for a moment and return to each other while I try to slow my breathing.
Thankfully, a passenger in the row behind me gets off at the next stop, and I slip into the empty seat. Three hours ahead of me, no one to stare, and plenty of time to panic.This is when I let my eyes overflow. Silently, so as not to attract attention- or worse, questions.
I text her: ‘on my way. be there by nine. love you‘
The reply comes: ‘okay, love you too’
Two years ago, and it seems like yesterday. It was only two days ago I was sharing a slice of pie with that beautiful blue-eyed baby boy. It’s cliché as hell, but Jesus, does time fly.