“Do you want to join me for lunch?” you ask.
“Um, okay, although it’s a bit early for me,” she responds. You remembered that Saskatchewan never uses Daylight Savings Time. She pulls her purse from out of her bag. It is pastel yellow with a shoulder strap, and a daisy for a button. She zipped up her black leather luggage bag, and got up. You walked with her through the corridors of the various cars. In one of the cars you passed, there was someone snoring. It must be Saturday.
You realized, to your relief, that you were wearing a good shirt, as you quickly checked yourself in a mirror when you had finally reached the dining car. You made sure to move far away from the family with two rowdy boys, but when she smiled at them, they grew eerily silent. You both sat down at the corner table. All the tables in the car were along the side, with room for four at each. The chairs were comfortable green leather couches, and the table was made of white melamine.
“So are you from Regina?” you asked, as you pulled out the menu from the napkin dispenser. VIA must be cutting back.
“Yes,” she said, and copied you.
“And where are you going?”
“The University of Red Deer.” You were a bit surprised, but when you looked back at your own experience, it was kind of obvious that she was also leaving for university, although you didn’t expect that she would be in the same university as you, not to mention that you wanted to cry too when you boarded the train, but you held it in. Soon after, a waiter came to take your orders. You ordered the chicken breast with mashed potatoes and vegetables, save the peppers. She ordered a chicken noodle soup and a tomato sauce and veal sandwich.
“Did it hurt when you left your parents?”
She blinked. “My parents?”
“Yeah, when you got on the train,” you muttered, recalling your own experience, and looked away.
“My parents died in a car crash fifteen years ago. It was my Aunt I was crying for when I got on the train,” she said, and sighed, “but it’s okay now. You don’t need to worry about me. I’m surprised someone I don’t even know could be so kind.”
Her eyes glistened.