Romance on the Train II

Romance on the Train II

By Roger Heid



The next morning we met on the train in our usual fashion, now sitting opposite from each other. I was anxious to hear an answer to the previous day’s question. She beat me to it by saying:

“My mom and dad want to see you at our house tomorrow evening at 7 pm. Will you come?”

“Yes, Mila, of course I will come.”

She seemed relieved, but the expression in her face prompted me not to pursue the issue any further. I just let it be, for now. During the remainder of the trip, we both engulfed ourselves in our studies.

On the way back home, Mila gave me the impression that something bothered her, but I stuck my guns and did not inquire. Instead, to break the silence, I asked:

“Are you actually interested in model railroads or were you just going along with me?”

“I have a brother. He is 3 ½ years younger than me. There is something wrong with him. Quite often he needs a wheel chair to get around; sometimes crutches will do. Occasionally, he is in such pain that he is outright useless, but that part has become much better.

The doctors have a name for it that I can’t pronounce; it has something to do with the central nerve system. Fortunately, he seems to be getting better. Besides that, he sometimes acts strange. He has started to do needle work. He says he can sit and do something useful. But about 2-3 weeks ago, he quit knitting, leaving two projects undone. He says it is too boring. Also, he has no friends; no one comes to visit him.”

“Aha! So you think a model railroad would provide some diversion and entertainment for him.”

“It’s worth a try, don’t you think? Something needs to be done for him.”

Punctually, at 7 pm the next evening, I rang the door bell at Mila’s house. She opened the door and let me in. She briefly introduced me to her parents.

While a small dog and two cats greeted me exuberantly, Mila’s father scrutinized me from top to bottom making me feel like some frog in biology class.

“So you’re the one,” he said. “You were in our store before and bought a watch for your mother, I think. My name is Yakov; this is my wife Irina. We were both born in Russia; we are Jewish. Our son Yuri is asleep at the moment; he is not well. I understand you are American or have an American background?”

I briefly explained my situation to him, pointing out that my ultimate plans were to move to the U.S. as soon as my schooling and professional training were completed. He just kept nodding his head.

“Why do you want to date my daughter?” he asked.

It’s now or never, I told myself. I’m going to lay it on the line.

“Because I love her, that’s why.”

“How can you be so sure? Especially now that you know she is essentially a Russian Jew?”

“So what? Some of my own country men have called me a German traitor. Besides that, were you so sure when you asked for Irina’s hand?”

“Yes, indeed, I was, but I wasn’t about to marry a schikse, you see.”

“Sir, I am not asking a schikse for a date either.”

The stern look in Yakov’s face suddenly exploded into a huge grin.

“Yes, Roger, you can take her out; have her home by midnight. I know she is 18, but she still lives in my house. Irina, bring us a bottle of Manischewitz. This calls for a drink.”


Punctually at 3 pm on Saturday, I rang the door bell again. Irina let me in; her face had an aura of mystique about it. It was underlined by the exotic outfit she had donned. Yakov also wore some fancy duds and he wore a kippah, the little hemispherical hat often worn by Jewish men.

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Somehow, before I left home, out of some strange instinct, I had put on my cowboy boots, my Stetson hat and a fancy bolo tie. Now, Yakov inspected me from head to toe again.

“That just figures. You’re looking good. You see, Irina and I are coming with you. But we will only stay for a glass of wine. You two want to be alone, and we don’t care much for loud Rock’n Roll music. Anyway, our appearance should leave some social impact on these bigots in this rotten town. It will give certain women an abundant amount of gossip material. It will be interesting to see what lies they will come up with, this time.

Uh, and don’t order much food while you’re there. We will pick you up at 11:30 pm. We’ll come here and have a feast.”

Then a fairy tale princess entered the room. To say that Mila looked stunning would be a feeble understatement. I was completely blown away. I don’t know too much about fancy clothing, but everything about her looked expensive, including the golden diamond studded locket suspended from a heavy golden chain.

Yakov’s Mercedes quickly delivered us to Renee’s Café. I was amused by the looks we got from some of the folks that were present. I could tell the gossip was already under way. Then a small group of regulars ostentatively left the premises; another group followed suit.

Renee came to the table to take our orders. I could not help myself to ask:

“Say, Renee, doesn’t it bother you that we shy some of your guests away? Do you prefer us leaving?”

“Roger, you stay right here. These buttholes leaving?! Hah! Good riddance! I know of a lot of people who do not come here because of them. Maybe this will change now, once the word gets around. Oh, your order is on the house.”

Well, I did not feel like climbing on top of the roof to get the drinks, but I thanked her anyway.

To be continued

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