Romance on the Train IV

Romance on the Train IV

By Roger Heid



A few days later, on a Sunday, all four of them rang my door bell. The doggie was here too. He immediately picked a fight with my cat, but a few minutes later, they were cuddled up together in my cat’s basket.

My Mom and Irina were in the kitchen, gabbing up a storm; Yuri kept staring at all the stuff on my layout. The door bell rang again, and my friends Bruno and Wilhelm joined us, each toting a bagful of stuff. Days before, I had told Bruno about Yuri’s situation.

I was pushed aside as they took over the entire operation, Yuri being their assistant. I resorted to the only armchair left in my room, Mila cuddled up on my lap. Yakov had left, saying he had to go and get something. It was an idyllic situation.

Bruno and Wilhelm, assisted by Yuri, were busy making changes and improvements to my layout. In one corner, there was suddenly a hill with a tunnel, a cable car shuttling up and down, up and down. During all this time, Yuri was hopping back and forth, cackling like a chicken after having laid an egg. Mila had started a soft snore. I didn’t dare to wiggle my knees.

When all was done, Yuri was put in charge of one the transformer throttles, uh; he was in charge running one of the trains. I have no words to describe his joy and exuberance. He altogether acted like a totally different person. He truly enjoyed his existence, for a change.

Then Jakov re-appeared on the scene and soaked everything in. First, he suspiciously ogled at Mila, but he did not seem to be unhappy with what he saw. Then he resorted to watching Yuri’s activities for quite a while.

“Why can’t the doctors make him feel the way he does now? Don’t they know anything?” he mumbled. “I will buy him whatever it takes to make him happy. Money is no object, but I will need your help. I have no clue as to what to buy once I’m in a toy store.”

“Don’t worry about it, Jakov. It will be a piece of cake,” I said.

The following day, instead of taking our usual train home, Mila and I went to the store and bought a Maerklin Starter Kit of my choice and a ‘Drool Book’ as Mila called the catalog. Once at Yuri’s house, things were unpacked, and it took Yuri no time flat getting the train to run. Bruno and Wilhelm obviously had taught him well.

Apparently, Yuri had no trouble getting up and down and moving around. It was almost like a miracle. A few days later, he presented me with a wish list as long as my extended arm. According to this list my arm would have dragged on the floor. I knew he had caught the bug. Good for him!

The weeks to follow took their usual course; my love for Mila had become unstoppable. On my birthday, in August, I was invited by Jakov and Irina to spend time at their house. I was presented a gorgeous golden watch as a gift. I almost fainted when I opened this little oblong box. Yuri dragged me from the scene to his room and his track layout. He eagerly demonstrated his new train consist, his ego bursting with pride.

“I have not needed any medication in two weeks,” he informed me.

Jakov had entered the room showing a great deal of interest in what Yuri was doing. Mila had also joined us busying herself assisting in Yuri’s complex train operation. Jakov motioned me to follow him to his study where he promptly procured a bottle of Manischewitz and two glasses.

“Roger, my friend, I realize how much you love my daughter. Frankly, I would not mind calling you Son. If you wish to marry her, you have my blessings. But there is one thing I must insist on. It must be a Jewish wedding, but you are not required to convert. Under the circumstances, there will be no issue made of this.”

“Sir, I would marry her in a jungle ceremony if I had to.”

“Well then, let me know when you are ready so we can plan on things, will you?”

“Yes Sir! Agreed.”

He hugged me, and we re-joined Yuri’s railroad operation.

Weeks went by, all things being as they should, until that morning when Mila was not on the train. She may be under the weather, I consoled myself, for the time being. That night I stood in front of the store. It was closed. The lights were off and there was no one in sight; the door bell was not answered; the phone seemed to have been disconnected. The same thing occurred for the next few days. I was devastated. I did not know what to do or whom to turn to.

Then one evening my door bell rang. There was Yuri and a stranger. I let them in.

Yuri looked at me intensely, his face expressing pain and sadness. He gave me a small package.

“Roger, this is Mila’s locket. She wants you to have it. She died a few days ago. Some tumor, they say. I am so sorry.”

Life the way I had known suddenly ceased to exist. I was hurt for a long time. Inside the locket was a picture of me, cut out from a newspaper that featured an article about the local model train club and pictures with me in it.

The appraisal and sale of the locket yielded a sizeable amount of cash which I donated to an Animal Rescue Shelter about 50 miles away.

The store was sold and turned into a grocery store. I never heard from Mila’s family again.


One Response to Romance on the Train IV

  1. John Joseph McVeigh says:

    Such a sad ending to an otherwise wonderful and magical story. My deepest condolences.

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