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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: Spring (as in the season) (11/28/05)

TITLE: Lady On A Train
By Tisha Martin


She stumbled gracefully down the aisle, toward the dining car. A bright flash in the midst of darkness. It had been several days since I had seen her. I needed the brightness.

The Amtrak chugged along, moving from side to side. I could hardly walk straight as I struggled my way through the coach and sightseeing car to the dining car. I reached the door and, holding onto the rail, shoved the door open. Chattering and clinking of glass rushed at my ears.

An attendant came up to me. “May I help you?”

“Yes. Is there a seat available?” I asked hopefully.

He checked his watch. “There will be one vacant in about twenty minutes.”

All anticipation drained from my face. “But,” I sputtered, “I need to talk to someone in there; can’t—

He put his hands up to stop me. “I’m sorry,” he apologized. “You’ll have to wait in the sightseeing car.”

I retreated back to the car I had come through. Sitting down in a seat which overlooked the rolling hills, I put my head in my hands. I was too dejected to care about lush beauty and blaring television. I needed the lady; I had suffered too much to wait twenty minutes more. My heart was on the brink of crushing. I couldn’t stand to be in the dark any more.

I heard the gaiety of a laughter filter through the door of the dining car. It was music to my ears. Oh, the sound thrilled me to the bones! I stared into blissfulness, oblivious of my current surroundings.

“There is a vacant seat, if anyone wishes to have their meal now.” The dining car attendant brought me back to earth.

I jumped up. Opening the door again, I saw the lady in bright. My face warmed; my heart pounded in my chest. I asked the attendant if I could be seated by the lady wearing the oversized hat. Sliding onto the bench, I smiled at her. “Hello.”

“Good day,” she responded in light English accent.

Before I could say another word, a waitress came up and requested my order. Glancing at the small menu, I selected chicken fried steak with green beans and water. The waitress left and I toyed nervously with the three-cornered napkin on my plate. Now that I had found her, I soaked in every aspect about her.

Vivid flowers poked out of the hat band in the prettiest array I had ever seen. Merry blue eyes peered over at me through thin wired spectacles. Ivory silk gloves covered dainty hands. Strands of pearls complemented the simple yet elegant collar that resembled Queen Anne’s lace. An arrangement of blossoms danced up and down the sleeves of the dress.

The patter of my heart settled. I basked in the beauty of this English lady sitting before me. The darkness of my inner being slowly disintegrated, and I felt clean, refreshed and new.

She looked at me in high curiosity. “Are you all right?”

I smiled. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Then why do you stare at me?” The question rolled gently out of her mouth.

“Because you are everything I dream that Spring is, and it’s brought me the joys of the season in my heart.”

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This article has been read 661 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Naomi Deutekom12/06/05
This is an interesting approach. I kept wondering what the lady had to do with spring!
Anita Neuman12/07/05
My clumsy self would like to know how to "stumble gracefully". :)

My romantic self loves the story and wants to know more. (Like, why does he seem to know her and love her, and yet she's never even met him before? - Sounds like an interesting history!)

My picky self would've preferred a stronger opening to clarify who was telling the story. You were in 3rd person talking about a woman stumbling along, and then you were in 1st person talking about stumbling along - I thought it was the same person, but that you'd switched POV. Obviously, I realized that I was wrong, (and if I'm the only one who made that mistake, then please just ignore me) but I would suggest some minor rewording to clarify that.

Overall, my critiquing self really enjoyed this entry! :)
Jan Ackerson 12/07/05
Be careful of starting with a pronoun, when your reader has no idea who "she" is. If you don't want to name her, then try something like "A woman in a red dress stumbled..."

An intruguing love-at-first-sight story. I'd like to read what happened next.
Marilyn Schnepp 12/09/05
Is it a child? Is it a man?...I wonder. I do know the lady isn't new to the person..they've seen her before according to the first paragraph. A mystery here...but perhaps above my head. Anyway, intriguing, and kept my attention until the end. ".....And then?"

Yes, I wanted more. Smile.
Pat Guy 12/09/05
Delightful love story (even if it is one-sided at the moment!)during the season of new love. I enjoyed the intigue and the setting very much.