One Way Ticket
Claire glanced at the large brown envelope sitting on the edge of her dressing table for perhaps the hundredth time in the last hour as she carefully rolled the silk stocking over her knee and up her thigh. She looked at the clock on the bedside, and noted that it read 5:00 p.m. She was down to the final hour to decide, and she knew she had to allow a half hour to the station.
She smoothed the sheer black fabric over her leg and wondered again if she could go through with it. She reconsidered the question and knew without a doubt that she could go through with it, but the real question was whether she should.
Claire looked at the envelope again and reminded herself that she had not seen him in almost five years. That was a very long time with no word from him, and she knew this was risky business and doing what he asked would run contrary to her nature. On the other hand, she couldn’t help a small smile as she recalled the vivid details of the last train ride she had taken with Joe. She felt a small shiver run along her spine as she vividly recalled how they had made love in almost every conceivable place in that train over those amazing three days. It was a long ride from St. Louis to San Diego, California.
That was the last time she had seen him, the train was taking him to the Naval Base at San Diego for final training before he shipped out. They had gotten separated on that last morning as they arrived in San Diego, and in the confusion they had not had the chance to say proper goodbyes.
Joe had been very angry when he first found out she was on the train. She had surprised him and if truth be told, herself as well when she had suddenly quit her job at the corner drug store, stuffed clothes in a beat up old suitcase and hurriedly bought a one way ticket to San Diego. She had not been on the train for more than two minutes when they slammed the doors and the connections between the cars clunked as they pulled out of the station. There had hardly been enough time to stick a note to her mom on the refrigerator before making the mad dash to the train station on that cold morning so long ago.
He had a sleeping berth, but she had only been able to afford a seat. He shared the berth with another soldier, and they were occasionally able to make good use of the tiny room while his roommate was out and about. Unfortunately, that was all too infrequent, so they were forced to make creative use of the other spaces in the narrow cars as they rocked their way through the wide open spaces of the Midwest. Claire grinned at the memory of how quickly he had warmed to the idea of her being on the train.
She glanced at the clock, and looked at the black heels sitting at the end of her bed as she rolled the second stocking along her thigh, recalling that last evening on the train and how close they had come to getting caught. It was not at all her nature to be so bold, but she had been the one to suggest that they make love in the rear lounge car. It was very late and she was counting on the fact that everyone on the ride was exhausted and would most likely be asleep.
That was the last time she had kissed him. She could recall the smell of him… well if she was truthful, it was the combined smell of both of them as if it had been five minutes instead of five years ago. That smell had visited her at the oddest times over the years.
She reached into the envelope and took out the note, a ticket and a small piece of thin black cloth. She opened the note and read its simple message, “Please meet me at the train station on Friday evening. The train leaves at 6:00.” She touched the one way train ticket to her chest and looked at the clock again. There was just enough time, but she was still not sure.
She had resisted the urge ever since the package had arrived, but she now had to know. She slowly raised the cloth that she had not seen since that night in the lounge car close to her nose and inhaled deeply. The scent of that night washed over her like a warm waterfall and all doubt was erased.
Glancing at the clock, she jumped up and put on the black dress she had carefully picked out, and slid her feet into the heels. She hesitated a moment, and held the thin black panties up to the light. She had long ago gotten over the embarrassment of the idea that some stranger had found those panties after their scramble to arrange their clothes after their last frantic lovemaking session.
She kicked off the heels and stepped into the panties and pulled them up under the dress. She grabbed the bag, stuck the note to the refrigerator, and dashed out the door with a big smile on her face.