“I’m on the wrong train”
Caitlin looked at the woman beside her. She’d spoken so quietly and calmly, Caitlin almost missed the comment. Now the woman smiled.
“I was supposed to get the train to DC.”
Caitlin turned to face the woman, alarmed. “We’ve just gone through Montpelier, ” she said. “We’re on our way to Montreal.”
“Oh, I know,” the woman said. She looked past Caitlin at the Vermont countryside flashing by. “Sure is green here. “
Caitlin didn’t know how concerned she should be. The conductor had taken the woman’s ticket and said nothing. “So you’re okay with going to Montreal?”
“Oh, of course. I’ve always loved Canada. “
Caitlin nodded slowly. “But you said you were on the wrong train?”
The woman looked down at her hands, as if to keep her small, satisfied smile to herself. “There are quite a few people waiting for me in Washington right now.” She chuckled, shaking her head.
Caitlin stayed quiet. What was there to say, anyway? There were always strange people on the train, and they pretty much always sought her out. What was there to do but listen?
“I only wish I could have been there to see their faces when I didn’t show up.”
At that moment, the woman’s phone rang. She picked it up, glanced at the screen and smiled.
“You’re not going to answer?” Caitlin hated to keep it going, but couldn’t hold back the question.
The woman laughed. “If I could open that window, I’d throw this out,” she said. “For now, I’ll just turn it off.”
She reached over and touched Caitlin’s arm. “My name is Joan,” she said. “I’m probably going to change it once I get there. Could you just call me Joan a few times between now and then? It’ll be nice to hear it a little before I let it go.”
And in just one day I completely forget the challenge I’ve set for myself. Working on residency applications while I try to stick with this daily goal is clearly a bit foolish. Let’s see if I can catch up today …