Mid to Night to Midnight Clear
The train came out of the long tunnel into the snow country.
Elijah stared at the pure white ground as it flew by, certain that he was lost somewhere in the vast landscape. It was so vast, the German landscape, and so beatiful. . . .the occaisional tree or cottage flickered by, but other then that, there was nothing but the beautiful white snow which seemed to drown him with its whiteness even at midnight. It was always clear at midnight this close to Christmas. Elijah felt blesses to be back there safely.
He was looking forward to seeing his sisters. Herr Schneider would be too surprised for words. Elijah smirked at the thought of the old man's eyes popping out as he presented little Tayla to her four aunts and their guardian. Elijah had long forgotten what it was like to live in a home with a family, bustling from place to place, always noisy. . . .he would gladly share that world with his daughter, the only child he had had with Ada.
Poor Ada. . . .she had so badly wanted to come! Elijah would take Tayla to see her grave this summer, for sure. His heart ached with longing to talk, even if it was just to Ada's grave. He knew she was really in heaven now. Perhaps she had pleaded to God to keep him and Tayla safe. She had always said that prayers were speical.
The train slowed. They must be stopping in Hanover now. Elijah's blood boiled as he saw the crest of Ada's father's house on a nearby shop. He would recognize that crest if he were blind and had to touch it.
If that man hadn't cast poor Ada out. . . .she might still be alive right now.
In a moment of irrational fear that Ada's father was somehow there, he hunkered down, pulling Tayla close in that protective, almost possessive waythat he always held her when he felt danger and pretended to sleep. A faint scent of the apple they had shared still lingered, he noticed. Elijah might have fallen asleep a lot sooner if the train hadn't stopped completely.
"Sir. . . sir, your tickets! I must check them!" someone shook his shoulder. "Wake up, sir!"
"Eh. . . .We had our tickets checked when we first got on here. At the spot closest to the sea, what was it again. . . ." Elijah fumbled over the German. He had taught Tayla and she could speak it a little, but he hadn't spoken German with another adult for nearly seven years. "My apologies, Herr Conductor. My German is not what it used to be. One moment."
Elijah rummaged through his coat pocket for the tickets and handed them to the conductor. "Check them ten times if you must, sir."
"Thank you." The conductor examined the tickets. "The apology is mine, Herr Smythe. I remember checking your tickets at Seaman Station. You were fresh off the boat. Your daughter, how old is she again? She is beautiful."
"Seven. Yes, she is beautiful, isn't she? My little darling will grow up with the young men all chasing after her."
"And you chasing them with a double-barrel shotgun, no doubt!" The conductor laughed.
Elijah smirked. "Well, perhaps a single barrel if they are lucky. How long until the station at Frankfurt? I wish to show Tayla the sights there before our next train."
"It will be a long drive to Frankfurt, Herr Smythe, We stop and Essen, Cologne and Wiesbaden before Frankfurt. You are really going all the way to Munich?"
"Yes. My sisters live there."
"You are leaving her there to be raised by them?"
Elijah shook his head. "I am not going to neglect my daughter, Herr Conductor. We will both live there."
"Ah, I thought your German had a homespun sound to it! Your name is more American-sounding, though."
"My parents moved to Germany when I was an infant. I moved back to America ten years ago, and now I am here again."
"Any particular reason for your leaving?"
Elijah shrugged nonchalantly, though inwardly he chided the conductor for being nosy. "I wanted to show my wife the land of my birth. She died in France when Tayla was a year old."
"My condolences." The conductor remarked. "I'm sure she was a wonderful woman."
"She was. Thank you."
"Well, let us hope you have a safe journey. I will be seeing you later on when I make my rounds." the conductor walked away.
Mein Gott, I hope you will treat us well here. Elijah prayed silently as he looked out the window. The crest of Ada's family seemed to cut into his heart.
He missed her. So, so much.