Her breath formed a ragged circle of fog on the window. Her eyes darted back and forth in miniscule leaps as she watched the countryside streak past. The dark trees blurred in the speed and the moonlight. Why had she gotten on that train? Why was she so damn impulsive? There was no going back now, of that she was sure. She reached out and dragged her pointer finger across the glass, drawing the outline of a tree in the condensation. One tree that would not whip past. One tree to sit under in stillness and think.
No one else was in the train car with her. She could talk out loud if she wanted. She opened her mouth. Closed it. She didn’t want to talk. If she had wanted to talk, she would have stayed. And if she had stayed…well, who knows? She wouldn’t think about that.
The fog on the glass was shrinking, closing in on the transparent tree. Soon the ring would disappear completely, erasing her place of solitude and peace. Think fast. You only have a few more moments, and then you’re on your own. Then the world moves on without you.
She pressed her forehead against the cold glass and closed her eyes. She thought about what the next few hours would bring and where the train tracks ended. A new home. It was laughable, really. How much home could you buy with 37 dollars and a train ticket stub? But it would have to do. At least until she found someone else. Someone who would trust her…who didn’t know…
Her eyes flew open as she heard the door open at the front of the car. An older man walked in, leaning lightly on a cane. His steel grey mustache was impeccably kept, his dark suit pressed, his face stately and composed. And why shouldn’t it be? He had nothing to hide.
The man sat down a few rows away from her, sighed heavily, and looked out the window. She stared at him for a few more moments, then made her decision. So be it. And with that she rose carefully from her seat, forced a look of bewildered innocence to her face, and closed the distance between them.