A Safe Trip Home

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

The man’s hat rattled on his head in the powerful March wind. He entered the train station and sighed, imagining himself home, gobbling up his wife’s pot-roast. Others bustled to and fro. His left hand rooted around in his coat pocket, then his pants pockets front and back, then all the odd coat pockets, then his briefcase. He cursed and headed to the ticket counter.

“Neville!” a creaky voice cried. He spun around. The old woman walked gingerly toward him. Beneath her white veil her bobbing chin shook its loose flesh. The veil was wet. The man towered over her. Moments passed, her smiling up at him, he frowning down at her. 

“Ma’am, what is it you need? And how do you know my name?”

“This is going to sound terribly strange, but here, let me show you.” She reached up to her gold locket, the chain cutting into her skin as her shaking hands struggled with it.

“Ma’am, you don’t need to show me anything. But do tell me your name.”

She let go of the necklace. “You really don’t recognize me? Well, it has been a long time. Your father was young, with an ill-fitting hat like yours, but I fell for him nonetheless.” She rambled on about the past. Her eyes darted around the station, then met him in a striking, tearful glare. “Oh, I know it sounds awfully crazy, but you are my son! I am so sorry I-” her voice cracked as she moved to embrace him. He stiffened, trying not to pull back or shudder. She sobbed louder and louder, shaking and heaving, until he dropped his briefcase and wrapped his arms around her with as much warmth as he could muster. Out of the corner of his eye, he monitored the briefcase.

“Sweetheart,” she said. “I am so sorry for leaving you there!” 

Neville’s stomach gurgled.

“Oh, my darling! Let me buy you dinner! Oh, but my train!” She looked to the timetable, then loosed Neville, followed by a heap of receipts and candy wrappers from her pockets. She rifled through her handbag. “I have lost my ticket and the train is to come in ten! And Edward has such a temper!” 

Neville grabbed her arm and led her to the ticket booth. 

“One for the old lady and one for me. Where are you going again, ma?” 


“One for Trentville, and one for Moorhead.” 

Neville walked her to her stop, noticing her new spry gait. “Look,” he said. “I know you’re not my mother. You’ve been clever, but you haven’t deceived me. I don’t know how you know my name, or whether you really know my father, or how for God’s sake you knew I was adopted, but you’re clever!”

As her train arrived, a freezing gust of wind pummeled her, flipping up her veil, and blowing it away. After he kissed her on the cheek, the scent of powder stuck to his face.


Submitted: May 06, 2020

© Copyright 2021 Dan Cordova. All rights reserved.

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