Today’s Prompt: Why do we travel to places we dread?
Write a scene that involves someone heading to somewhere they don’t actually want to go. Where are they going and why?
My fear slowly slipped away as the train station faded into the background. With it, I felt my heartbeat slow down and my breathing come a little easier. By the time we were traveling at full speed I felt comfortable enough to pull out my battered paperback and thumb to my page. My mind wasn’t fully on the book, however. Already my thoughts flitted to the pending meeting. It’s impossible to travel to a meeting like this without stopping to consider all the ways it could go down, all the things that could happen. I could imagine everything being simple, I’m given the information and walk out in time to get on the train home without anyone noticing I’m gone. I can imagine a much worse situation in which I’m left waiting on someone who never arrives, alone in a part of town I never go.As always, this is my original work. Don’t steal, be cool.
Wait, that’s not the worst case scenario, is it? Worst case would be that this person who’s summoned me to a meeting at this late hour in a part of town I’m not familiar with is out to harm me instead of leaving me information I desperately need. I’m risking everything for this information. That’s how important it is, I suppose.
I close the paperback, realizing with dark thoughts about how this could go wrong rolling through my head I’m not going to get even a page of reading done. Then I start paying attention to the other people in the train car. It’s possible, I suppose, that the mystery person I’m supposed to meet today is actually already here. What if they are traveling from the same area I am, or from somewhere further back along this train line? They’d already be seated in the uncomfortable chairs in this car with me.
Keeping that in mind, I search the faces. Is there someone I recognize? Maybe someone I’ve seen before on my street, shopping in a mall at the same time I was, or driving a car down my lane? Could one of these people know me enough to have answers to the question I am afraid to speak aloud?
I reach in my purse to put the paperback away and my hand grazes the little purple note that led me here. I pull it out, flipping it open. “I know who he’s been meeting with,” it reads in neat printed letters. Underneath that is an address, today’s date, and a time about forty minutes from now. When I got this in the mailbox at home just one week ago, I wasn’t sure I would even come. Who drops a note into a mailbox with no envelope, no stamp, and no return address?
Now when I look back up at the people around the train car, I’m looking for someone who may have been the person who wrote in neat lowercase letters on simple purple paper. I imagine someone feminine, then chastise myself for that. Access to purple paper does not mean anything. All kinds of people can write on purple paper. Even more can have access to it simply because it’s used in their office or by their spouse or roommate. Purple paper isn’t as telling as the neat handwriting. Neat handwriting means careful. It means whoever wrote this took their time writing it. It means this information may be as important to them as it is to me, which is something that shocks me. Why would anyone care what my husband has been doing, who he has been meeting with, unless they were me?
I fold the purple paper and slip it back into the confines of my purse. I look to the map on posted on the side of the train car, studying where I think we are in relation to the stop I need. There are no more stops between me and my destination now. I think through the research I did before getting on the train. It should be a short three minute walk to the address from the station. Maybe, if a person I’m traveling with is the person I’m meeting, I’ll see them on the walk. This could give me time to analyze where I’ve seen them before. Maybe. Of course this all rests on the assumption that I know the person who requested this meeting. My brain keeps coming back to this. To the idea that someone I know is the only person who could possibly have this secret inside them. No stranger would know more about my husband than I do. Right?