She thought that maybe she could do it. You see it in the movies. Sometimes they struggle but even in their struggles, hopping on a train looks easy. She ran along side the rambling coal car. She cursed herself, this is not a box car! What was she thinking. She kept up her abysmal pace as the railcars clickity-clacked past her. The next one was a box car. This is it! As the car caught up to her, the door in her peripheral, she realized she was losing her breath. This was definitely harder than in the movies. The door was fully in view now without using her side gaze to keep from tripping. Her breath was labored and her chest felt as if it were on fire. She looked up at the massive door and realized that it had a lock on it. And, even if it did not have a lock on it, it was so massive that there was no way she would be able to slide it, while running, while feeling as if death was sitting on her chest. The railcars were so much bigger at this close up range.
Her pace slowed as she realized this was a futile attempt to get out-of-town. She changed her trajectory and collapsed in the grass a few yards away from the tracks. A slight breeze of the final railcars ruffled her hair as they made their way to the next town, without her. Traitors. She had watched the trains all these years, talked to them, wondered where they went as they continued out of sight and this is how they repay her for all that one-sided friendship? No more sacrificial pennies for you!
She stood up, brushed herself off and reached for the water canister attached to her backpack and vowed to work on her cardio. She realized that she had forgotten to fill it with water before leaving the house. Great. What’s one more failure? She turned to head for home. At least there was a pie there waiting for her, chocolate with the whipped cream and shavings on top, her favorite. As she made her way through the field and toward the edge of town she reflected on her failed attempt and decided that it was better than no attempt at all. It wasn’t as if she didn’t love her parents. She was just an odd girl and odd girls always have a hard time in small towns. In all the books, the odd girl runs away and finds adventure and love on the road. What kind of love would she find here in the mountains? Jimmy Newman from two streets over? His braces reminded her of that old James Bond movie where the bad guy had a mouth full of metal.
She made it to her house and plopped down on the swing, letting her momentum take her into full swing. She threw her feet up onto the seat and laid down, arranging her backpack behind her head like a pillow. Her Mom came out of the kitchen door and walked over to the swing, sitting a bottle of root beer within reach of her swinging daughter. “Didn’t make it?” Sarah opened her eyes with a scowl, “Obviously.” “Maybe next time.” As her mother turned away, Sarah blurted out, “Condescending!” Martha looked over her shoulder and smiled, “Drink your root beer before it gets warm and then come inside so we can share a piece of pie. You can tell me where it all went wrong.”
As Sarah swung her feet to the ground and picked up her root beer, the door creaked shut behind her Mom. She turned up the bottle and the refresing soda took the edge of her dry throat. Adventures were difficult, she knew this, all the movies laid this out for her. She just needed to plan a little bit better. As she took her second drink, she heard a voice call to her from the road, “Hey Sarah!” She jumped to her feet without a full glance at the person greeting her, “Hey Jimmy!” and ran through the kitchen door to her Mom and a piece of her favorite pie.