Thursday, December 15, 2005

House Broken: Part 9

He was working as an engineer on the steam train that day and looked particularly adorable in his light blue denim overalls. She loved the way he seemed born to drive the train-the way his soul actually glowed when he was in the cab, driving guests around the theme park on a train that was a piece of history.

On this day, the air was warmer than usual and the sun was relentlessly bright. The lack of a breeze made her skin sticky and she was very uncomfortable in her costume.

The train station was just above her work location, and when the trains were idol, she could see the engineers in their cabs. Three trains ran that day, and his was now in the station.

He tooted the whistle once, signifying that the train would be leaving shortly. It is a sound that will forever hold a special place in her heart-a high pitched steam infused toot, with the after effect of steam billowing out of the train. When she looked up at the station, he was leaning out of the cab, looking back at her.

“C’mon up!” he motioned.

She shook her head no and laughed, pointing to the turnstiles that she had to stay near.

“Come ride with me” he yelled, breaking the rules and calling attention to himself and to our courting.

“I can’t! I am not on break!” But as she said that, her relief came over and told her to take her break.

He gave her a thumbs up as he tooted the horn again, letting the conductors know that it was last call, the train would be leaving soon.

As she climbed the last step to the train station platform, he stepped out of the cab and extended his hand.

“You’re chariot awaits, my dear.” He said in his best Prince Charming voice.

She lowered her eyes and gave him her best “I want to be your Cinderella” look and finished it off with her sparkling smile. “Thank you” and she took his hand.

The inside of the train’s cab was extremely hot, as it was a true coal running steam train. Teams of 2 people drove the train in shifts throughout the day, maintaining the fire and keep a schedule. They also cooked hot dogs.

“Are you hungry?” he asked.

“Yes, but I won’t have time to eat.”

“Sure you will” and he opened the hatch to reveal bright orange embers. Set on top was a tin foil packet filled with juicy hot dogs, waiting for her to indulge.

Laughing, she asked, “Did you plan this for us? A hot dog luncheon on this here train?” she asked in a Southern accent.

“Yes ma’am, I sure did! I even brought the buns!”

It was outrageously silly and off the wall things such as these that made her want to be near him. She wanted to soak up every detail of his quirky mind, of his crazy antics and unique sense of humor.

“Well, thank you. I do believe this is the craziest most original date I’ve ever had. And I love hot dogs!”

She stayed with him and his partner for 3 rounds and 2 hot dogs and then she had to go. Her shift was almost over and she wanted to be sure she relieved her friends before going home.

“Thanks again for lunch and the ride. It was a nice change. I really liked it.” She was beaming-obviously excited about the attention he was showering on her.

“Anytime. I’ll see you around, ok?” He looked around quickly, and gave her a quick kiss on the lips. It tasted salty, like the hot dogs they just ate for lunch.

As the train pulled away, she closed her green eyes and let the sounds and smells of the moment envelope her whole being, allowing her to once again appreciate how lucky she was to be standing where she was, and that the engineer of the train that was pulling away liked her.