Then A Train Came
His eyes were emotionless, perhaps just confused or lost. His short, yellow hair was matted with sweat and swept to the side. His face and arms were covered in thin, irritated and raised scratches that were generously given by the surrounding trees. I watched him carefully as his chest heaved up and down with exasperation. He had been running.
“Hey, Carol,” he panted.
“Hi, Chris,” I said softly.
He walked slowly forward, stepping delicately over the train tracks that separated us. His white shirt and pants were covered with dirt. The orderlies were going to realize that he had left when he came back to the hospital looking like a mess.
“We can’t keep meeting here like this,” I said nervously as I took a step back from Chris. “It’s not going to work. Nobody will understand.”
A single tear broke free from the constraint of his eye socket and slid down his sunken cheek. I could tell he was in disbelief. We had been meeting in secret for two months and all of a sudden I was calling it off. But I was scared. I stopped and thought about what I was doing.
“I do love you, Chris. But you’re a patient, and I a nurse. Nothing is in our favour. My father would kill you and I would lose my job,” I said, just hoping that he would understand.
“Did you at least bring my cigarettes?” Chris asked in a desperate voice.
I shook my head no and turned to leave towards my house. Play time was over. Chris attempted to cross back over the tracks and his malnourished leg slipped in between two boards and became wedged sideways. He struggled to free it but to no avail.
There was a ruckus around the bend. A jumble of black steel opposition to our romance came stampeding through the still woods. Chris was motionless with terror as I walked away. My little floral dress disappeared into the darkness. Smoke shot to the sky. There was a loud whistle and a glaring yellow eye.
My father shouted from the back deck.
“Coming, daddy!” I replied.
I shouldn’t have been out so late anyway. I heard the crunch of bones as I entered my house. I thought we were just playing a game, but Chris didn’t think so. That scared me.