Romance on the Train I

Romance on the Train I

By Roger Heid

 

It was April of 1962; my final year in school had just started. Now I was eighteen, but I was still model railroading. In fact, I had just started on my annual Christmas wish list. It had become harder to make decisions except buying all items listed in my catalog. The whole catalog was my wish list, you see.

In the meantime, in the real world, the old ‘Thunder Box’ passenger cars had made way for something a lot newer. On the outside walls it said they were a B4yge. They were a lot more comfy and they rode nice.

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During those days I could feel scholastic pressures. The twenty five minutes spent on the morning train was precious time to study and prepare for tests. The crowd in the 2nd class cars had gotten too loud and rowdy for my taste. I needed more peace and quiet. The earnings from my part time job allowed me to buy my monthly student rail pass for 1st class.

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It was worth it. I just had to watch that I did not fall asleep instead of studying, that’s how comfortable the seats were. Something else was also different. There were not many passengers riding along; and they were pretty much always the same. Ordinarily, they stuck to themselves, not pestering anyone. This I liked as it allowed me to concentrate on my study material.

Right on the first day riding 1st class, a young girl, about my own age, got on the morning train. It seemed I had seen her before, but I could not put a finger on where and when that might have been. She took a seat on the other side of the aisle, not paying any attention to me. She was pretty, I thought. I could not help myself, but I had to look at her a few times during the trip. The girl shown below is not actually her, but it is a very close resemblance, just to give you an idea.

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This picture of a photo model is not actually Mila, but the resemblance is amazing.

One afternoon, a nice warm day, on my way home, she was also on the train, reading in some book with a leather protective cover on it. I could never tell what she was reading. I was studying my wish list. It was tough to decide between a Diesel or an Electric. Then I felt the sudden urge to break the ice.

“What are you reading, Miss?”

I was hoping she would not say she was reading a book and to mind my own business.

“Oh, it’s nothing.”

She hastily closed the book and stuck it in her bag. Then she looked at me pensively, a hint of a sweet little smirk in her pretty face.

“You are obviously studying a saliva generator. May I see it please?”

I got up, handed it to her and returned to my seat. Nice perfume. Just enough of it; it wasn’t overwhelming.

“Interesting,” she said. “Do you have any of these?”

“Yes, Miss, I do.”

“Can you show them to me, please?”

I took it as an invite. I got up and sat right next to her. For the remainder of the trip she was subjected to a barrage of me showing and explaining things. She never interrupted, but I could tell she was interested or at least entertained; but on my way home I started to wonder if she was faking her interest. It bugged me a little, I must admit.

The following day she was not on the train, and I already missed her, a sensation I had never experienced before. That night I was worried if she was ok.

Glory be! The next day she came into the car, a little out of breath. She plopped on the seat right next to me. She immediately reached into her bag and pulled out this ominous book of hers, but she took the leather off so I could see what it was. ‘Basics of Optometry’ it said.

I refrained from making a silly remark like I see you want to become an optometrist. Instead I showed her the front cover of my own book. ‘Ludus Latinum VI’ it said.

She briefly looked at it, snickered a little and said:

“So you want to join the Roman Army, put on a helmet with a brush on it and carry an SPQR flag. Maybe you want to become a member of the Senate or the Triumvirat, possibly become the emperor. Well, you look like you’d be good at it. Just make sure you don’t get killed in early March of your first year in office.”

Frankly, her little speech left me speechless. A few minutes later, I interrupted my studies of the Lingua Latina.

“I missed you yesterday, you know.”

“How sweet of you. On Tuesdays I have to go trade school in Stuttgart, you see.”

The trip back home later in the day was spent looking at my wish list and her wish list, a camera catalog. She subjected me to her barrage of explanations about lensatics and depth of field issues.

Her parents owned a jewelry store located not far from the train station. It was not exactly on my way home, but a short detour would certainly not kill my feet; so I walked her home. She told me her name was Mila. Before she went inside, I asked her if she would like to come to ‘Renee’s Café’ with me this coming Saturday.

“Uh, I have to ask my parents first. I’ll let you know tomorrow.”

There was a sad undertone in her voice. It left a little spike of pain in my heart.

To be continued

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