It was suppose to be just a weeklong vacation.
I was packed and ready in front of the door, waiting for something as I heard my mothers’ footsteps getting louder.
“Audrey, did you pack uncle Elm’s wine and the chocolate for your cousin? It was at the foot of your bed.”
“No, you didn’t tell me to.”
She took my suitcase back to my room, stamping her feet so hard on the wooden floor it felt like an earthquake. She unpacked my baggage and started mumbling.
“Ah, I have told you. If only you paid some attention… just like her father… I have to do everything…”
I couldn’t take it so I sat on my bed and clicked the power button of my old radio. My mother stopped and looked at the speaker. A song very familiar was being broadcast. My mother stepped away from my bed and started dancing very badly, but I didn’t dare say anything it seemed like she was enjoying it a lot.
The moment was interrupted by a surprise call from a stranger.
“Ring, Ring, Ring”
“Hello, ma’am. I am general Malcolm.”
“We were wondering if you’ve seen Allen, I’ afraid he’s your son?”
“Yes, he is my son, but he hasn’t been home for over a year now. Is there anything wrong?”
“Ma’am, he has been missing for 3 months now.”
“What do you mean?”
“No one in camp has seen him for over 3 months. First we thought he was Lost In Action, but he hasn’t been in the air for about 4 months.”
My mother put the phone down and slowly moved to the kitchen. She made some coffee, took it out to the balcony and asked for a lighter. There was one in the reading room, so I went to fetch it. My father was an architect, but he also had interest in psychology and read lot’s of books. He and my brother Allen used to have there long hours here when I was just a toddler, then they took him away to the army when I was just ten, so I’ve been my fathers only listener for the past five years. He died in this room two years ago.
I suddenly shake a little and look around for the silver zippo. It was laying on the desk. As I grabbed it an envelop fell in sight. On the corner of this envelop was written my name.
I whispered and hid the envelop in my pants.
“Thank you, dear. Go pack.”
I could tell she wasn’t confident staying alone in the house for a week. But I knew I had to go and give her some time.
“Mom, Let’s go.”
“Wait. The money. Did I give it to you?”
“No, you just gave me wine and chocolate.”
“Okay, wait now”
She ran to her room and came back with another envelop.
I knew where my brother was. The last time he came home to visit he told me that he’s going to run away and never come back. I guess he wasn’t kidding about it.
“I’m going to leave one day, you’ll understand why soon. Maybe go to India or Africa. There’s nothing more important than simplicity.”
I heard him say so many other things such as this, but this time I could see his eyes tearing up, I could see pain and hate. I never asked why he wanted to leave. I guess it was clear to me that he had been bullied all his life for being a little more different from the majority of our society.
Allen also had a drinking problem. I remember him coming home one day. I could smell his breath from my room.
“Allen. What are you doing?”
My mother whispered.
“Come here, boy!”
My father spoke harshly, but he never judged us for our actions. But Allen ran away that night, I didn’t see him for three days.
“Did you take your documents?”
My mother made me feel so nervous sometimes, that I just want her to stay quite.
“Yes, I did.”
We reached the train station after 20 minutes.
“Okay, now don’t forget to stay awake, I don’t want you to miss your stop.”
I opened my mouth to answer, but my mother sharply changed her face expression. I turned around and say two, very loud women waving at her. She faked a smile.
“Good day, Morrie. How’s the book?”
My mother was a writer, but didn’t write anything when she started to take care of my brother.
“It’s good, I’m working really hard on it. How about you two? How’s the university?”
“You should come and visit.”
Said one of the women. She had bright red lipstick on and her yellow teeth made her eyeballs look extra white.
“Oh, they’ll be happy to see you.”
Said the other one with a long cleavage, the brown bra underneath was a size small.
I could feel the sarcastic character of the last sentence. Both laughed and walked away.
My mother started mumbling again.
“Stop it, Mom.”
“The train will be leaving in five. Dear passengers, please take your places. Thank you”
The British accent filled my ears, I hugged my mother.
“Take care, Mom.”
She kissed my cheek gently and waved as I ran to the train.
The train. I was passing booth by booth. Number 189A.
“Do you need help?”
“Hmm. I can’t find my place.”
“Oh, let me see.”
This old man took my ticket and gave it back to me. He had a greyish beard hanging down his chin, which he caressed with his white gloves as he gave me directions.
The section was very different from the ones before. It was almost empty. As I walked towards my seat I saw a boy and a girls sitting next to each other, staring at the window and listening to music, I could hear it out the headphones, something I’ve never heard. They both had really dark hair and light skin. I couldn’t see their face clearly because of all the hair that had covered it.
I took my seat and the train started to move. As I opened a book a movement caught my attention. Both of them were siting in front of me.
“What’s your name?”
I stared at my book for a few second imagining about the scenery.
“Right, Audrey. See J, I told you she wasn’t a Lucy.”
This girl was staring at me so weirdly, and she suddenly remembered something.
“Ah, sorry. Do we make you feel uncomfortable?”
She looked at me with her deep brown eyes.
“Okay, enjoy your trip, Audrey.”
So strange. My stomach started to wail and I felt sick.
As I got up and walked in the hallway a beautiful lady walked towards me. We both stopped as we reached the same point. She had very thin skin, her veins were visible. I looked at her batch ‘Norah’.
“Are you lost?”
I jumped and remembered, that I have to throw up.
“I’m actually looking for the bathroom.”
And I followed her. I couldn’t help but notice her wavy blonde hair.
I was starting to get this very bad feeling, it’s like I’m trapped in this train and everyone on it is somehow different.
“Here, I’ll wait outside.”
I looked myself in the mirror. My hair was all fuzzy and I was paler than a sheet of paper. I unlocked the door. She wasn’t there, so I went back by myself. The carpet felt sticky under my feet.
“Oi! Why didn’t you wait for me?”
“Sorry, but you weren’t there when I came out.”
She gave me a very threatening five second stare and disappeared in the hallway.
I reached to my seat and sat down harshly putting my head on the window and closed my eyes. I can’t remember what I was dreaming of, but I sure was dreaming. Sleeping; the closest thing to death, as Allen used to say.
Someone was pinching me. I opened one eye then the other. Those two were sitting next to me.
“Audrey, wake up. We’re playing a game.”
“J, pinch her again.”
“I think she’s awake ,Tina”
“So is she going to play, J.”
“Audrey are you going to play?”
I had no idea what was going on. So I just nodded.
“Tell Norah to come to.”
Tina went to fetch Norah. I sat alone with J.
“So, did you run away?’
“No. Did you?”
“Well, my sister and I had to a year ago. Our mother was, you know a bit crazy.”
He opened his arm and I could see a big white scar.
“I got that when I wax twelve.”
“ I don’t know. She never told me.”
Norah had a rope in her hand and goggles, that covered her crystal blue eyes.
I don’t know if I should ask where we’re going, and I whispered in J’s ear.
“Where are we going.”
He looked at me and gave me a little black pill.
“What is it?”
“Just take it, it’ll make you feel better.”
I swallowed it without water. The feeling in my throat was constantly reminding me about danger.
“J, I can’t feel my hand, I can’t feel my toes, I can’t feel my cheeks, I can’t feel anything.”
I was so happy and dreamy. I have forgotten everything, even my name, my mouth was going numb too, so I couldn’t speak properly. Tina took my hand and dragged me all the way to the end of the train.
We went on the roof. Norah rolled the rope around her stomach.
“J, will you hold this.”
She gave him the other end of the rope and kissed his cheek.
“I am free.”
And she was gone. She jumped off.