Day 6! Sorry the post is a little late (Finals have been a little tough to manage) I hope this week has been going well for you all! December is going by so fast so enjoy every minute of it!
Amelia corralled the kids under the electronic board with the boarding times. The speakers were finishing up with ‘White Christmas’ and moving on to ‘Jingle Bells’. She looked at all the kids.
“Do you guys know ‘Jingle Bells’?”
“YESSS,” yelled all the kids in unison.
“Well then let’s give this Train Station something to enjoy while waiting for their trains! Jingle Bells, Jingle Bells, Jingle all the way, oh what fun…”
Amelia began to sing and the slightly off-tune children joined in. A few of them were still too busy finishing up their gingerbread cookies to sing. Who could blame them? Food is good. Mrs. Jolie was also singing, to Amelia’s surprise she could not sing at all. She had pictured a beautiful velvety soprano voice but instead got a croaky baritone. But hey that was the beauty of it, no matter how good or bad your voice is you were spreading the Christmas spirit.
Then the oddest thing began to happen. Something Amelia had not anticipated at all. The people in the waiting room began to sing too, some families with kids came to stand by them and join in. Even some of the staff at the restaurants and cafes had begun to sing and the security too.
Then the ultimate surprise. Of the mob of people surrounding the orphaned children Amelia could make out an old man with a grey receding hairline and glasses- it was Roy- and he was singing. Roy was really singing, he had his eyes closed and his hands were moving with every breath he took- he loved it. Amelia began to walk towards him. He too was a baritone but he had the velvety voice that Mrs. Jolie was lacking. The song ended. He opened his eyes to find Amelia standing next to him- staring.
“What do you want?” He asked gruffly. The man she had seen a few minutes ago had disappeared.
“Excuse me miss, you bought all the kids cookies but we never really introduced ourselves. I am Mrs. Jolie. I am bringing the kids to a home in upstate New York for the Holidays… get them out of the city a bit,” Mrs. Jolie said with a smile.
Mrs. Jolie huh — if Mrs. Clause had a French sister that would be her name… Amelia thought with a chuckle.
“That should be exciting for the kids. My name is Amelia Bell. I am heading up to Maine for the break- to visit some family,”
From behind Amelia heard a familiar gruff voice, “Family — what a waste– just like this cookie” it was the grumpy old man again. Irritated Amelia looked back and responded.
“I am sorry I don’t think I ever caught your name,” she said while struggling to be polite.
“You give strangers cookies without knowing their names? Something is wrong there…” he said with a low chuckle. Amelia was just surprised to see him smile.
“The name is Roy,” He said and walked off.
“What an odd man,” said Ms. Jolie. “I think he just has to get into the Christmas spirit, I mean look around what a perfect place for some Christmassy fun!”
Amelia had never seen a train station as a place to have fun for Christmas but now that she looked around she realized that there was, in fact, plenty of possible ‘Christmassy’ activities.
“Hey, Kids, who wants to sing Christmas carols?”
Amelia watched as the orphaned kids stopped to look at some iced gingerbread men at the bakery in the train station. She could smell the freshly baked cookies from where she sat. They were smiling and watching the store clerk decorate the cookies with snowy white icing and rainbow sprinkles. Amelia looked at all the kids and a thought occurred to her. Sure she was stuck at a train station alone but at least she could make the most of the situation and she knew exactly where to start. Amelia picked up her small duffle and walked confidently towards the group of kids. She was about to speak when the same elderly lady who was leading the group came up to her. She reminded Amelia oddly of what Mrs. Claus would look like. She was shorter than Amelia so she looked up at her and smiled.
“How do you do young lady?,” the Mrs. Claus look-a-like asked.
“Erm- I am doing well, actually I was just about to offer to buy the kids some cookies if that is alright?” and with that, the group of children erupted with screams of contentment. They all circled around her to give Amelia a group hug- to her surprise.
“Buying kids cookies… I would save your money if I were you…” said a man behind Amelia- It was the grumpy cursing old man. Amelia didn’t respond with words (just a stern glare).
“I’ll have 16 of your finest gingerbread men!” Amelia told the store clerk. The kids all began to munch happily on the cookies in the waiting room. Crumbs stuck to icing covering their hands and face. Amelia then walked over to the old man and handed him the last gingerbread cookie.
“It looked like you needed one,” she said as she placed the cookie beside him and walked away…
During Amelia’s intermittent glances at the board with all the train boarding times, she noticed the time climb up slowly from an hour delay to one hour and 15 to one hour and 30 and ultimately two hours. A woman came on the speakers to explain the situation. “Unfortunately there is a delay for train 141. It is unexpected and we are sorry for the inconvenience,” so I guess that’s their explanation… thought Amelia with a pang of irritation. She looked around the station, no one cared, everyone was cheerful and laughing. Except for an elderly man waiting by the corner of the waiting room, away from everyone, and cursing as he glanced at his ticket. He had a receding grey hairline and tired eyes. He made eye contact with Amelia who quickly looked away. Well isn’t today going great. Amelia looked down at her phone, time was passing so slowly and her family kept sending her pictures of delicious Christmas foods. Honey roasted ham, mashed potatoes, buttered peas, warm biscuits, Dutch Apple pie, they looked like they were having an early Christmas Dinner- and Amelia was simply stuck at a grimy train station alone. As she sat feeling sorry for herself a group of children passed her. They looked about the age of 2-8 years old, about 15 boys and girls lead by a sweet-looking elderly and plump gray-haired woman. All the kids had Christmas hats and candy canes in their mouths and big smiles on their faces, what stuck out the most, however, was their matching green shirts. They all read McGillan’s Orphanage for Boys and Girls. They were orphans. Instantly Amelia felt bad for the pity party she had thrown herself a few minutes ago. At least she had somewhere to go for the holidays…
Penn Station in New York City was decked out in Christmas decorations. Bells, red ribbons, Christmas trees, lights, ornaments, candy canes… the whole shebang. People were walking around the station with Santa hats and the restaurants and stores were giving out free treats and goodies for everyone’s travels. Amelia picked up a free oatmeal raisin cookie and some hot coffee. It was a late night train, 9:00 pm on December 23rd. She would be making it home on Christmas Eve around noon. She looked around the train station. Despite the decorations, it was still a little grimy and dirty. The waiting room was completely full of families and people trying to get home for the holidays. They all had the same anxious yet excited looks on their faces as they waited for their boarding gate to be posted on the board. That was when the first disaster struck. Amelia was already at a train station- a place where she did not feel comfortable or content, but what was worse was when train 141 was delayed… by an hour. An hour isn’t too bad thought Amelia as she settled into a seat in the waiting room. Could be worse. As long as I get home by Christmas I am all good. The intercom then began to play ‘White Christmas’ and she slowly sank into the tough plastic waiting chair. Looking around the station she saw everyone begin to board their trains. Everyone was so excited to be going home, hopping up and down and screaming with joy when the train told them to start boarding. And as everyone slowly began to leave she realized that they were all going home, and she wasn’t, she had never felt so alone…
Trains had never been Amelia’s favorite mode of transportation. However, this year it would be the cheapest and most efficient way to get to her hometown of Greenwood. In fact, the only thing that was going to get her through the train ride was the knowledge that at Greenwood snow was already littering the ground, frost was licking the trees, and a mug of hot chocolate was waiting for her at the kitchen counter. She couldn’t wait. But for now, she would have to tackle the train. Amelia wasn’t sure why she was not a fan. Airplanes never bothered her, as a matter of fact, any other mode of transport didn’t bother her— just trains. Perhaps it was that she always thought that they would be grimy and boring. At least on a plane, there is the excitement of flying through the sky. To her, the train was just a glorified and costly metro. But that didn’t explain her disdain for them. Maybe it was the many TV shows and movies that she had watched. They had led her to believe that at any moment a villain was going to destroy the train tracks. The train would then not be able to stop in time before launching off the broken tracks. And only someone of superhuman strength would be able to stop it. Or perhaps it was just that this was her first time taking a mode of transport that wasn’t a metro or car alone somewhere… Amelia thought as she entered the train station. She had arrived two hours early- not knowing if she should get there as early as she does for planes or metros so she just guessed and thought the earlier the better. She was prepared for the train ride, well at least she thought she was…
Hope you are enjoying the posts! Check back in tomorrow!!
-Sophia Kat ❤