Girl on the Rails, Once Upon a Time on Amtrak

I jump onto a train when I need to write and think. I avoid my laundry and my stories and the words and panties get piled up with life's multitude of distractions. So I use my Amtrak Reward card status and book a 3.75 hour each way tour on the tracks, run the washer full-stop and frantically fold before I walk the .8 miles to Union Station.

I get to see my sweetheart after the journey, so I have additional incentive to get to the rails on time. I am a "regular," -- the conductor's name is Tom. I promised myself (and my life coach, John, as a witness) I would post one vignette (blog) a week on my website from September 8, '14 for one year.

I hopped onto a train to write my first two stories the week prior to my penciled in deadline. I delivered on the goods The ritual is: snag a sweet seat in the bistro car, order a tea and honey and get to my "Once Upon a Times" within 15 minutes. Most of the journey rolls alongside water. I daydream and have to pull myself back to the page often. I like being alone unless I get the fore mentioned sweet heart to ride with me on the rails, where we pack picnic and bootleg and we write a story together or tend to our own words or sleep time. I don't make pals on the train, I place the force field bubble around me for "me time." I need it. I fantasize about it. Not Diane Lane in Unfaithful fantasize, but damn close to.

I am behind on the year end action plan commitment: 52 stories by this coming September 8. So I just booked three back and forth Portlandia to Seattle rail rides to help facilitate the dream come true. Last week, the Bistro car was full so I asked a sweet looking lady if I could share a table with her. The other two open seat options were rowdy youngsters drinking beer and slapping one another on the backs (could have been a fun option I suppose if I didn't itch for quiet). She had a gin and tonic and a turkey on rye to keep her busy. I ordered a wine and talked with her. Broke my own rule. Drinks and talking as well? What the hell was I up to?

An hour into the trip I mentioned that I had to focus and tuck into the my Apple for a bit. Not before she shared that her name was Renee and she was really tired. Little children, full-time work and no time for sex or sleep. I asked her if she liked her Honey still. Yes, just the other night he was fixing the sink and he was holding a wrench and I wanted him so fiercely. Oh my, I am getting warmed up. She was so excited just conjuring up the memory. What did he say about that? I ask.

I didn't tell him. I am too tired, that's why I am on this train. I need some friend time and some rest. Me too, but not that badly. She spends the next hour in quiet. Then she says, now I want to go home after talking to you. I just needed a couple of hours to myself and a drink and a bit of girl chat. I want my man, she says.

May I make a suggestion (life coacher butting in)? Let him know that he matters so much to you that you are on a train and sharing the shirt off (forgot that part) wrench in hand sexy husband fixing the damn sink moment. Really? Yes, of course, would you like to hear him tell you you are sexy more often? Yes, he does tell me even when I weighed 50 pounds more after baby birthing. She starts to cry. He really is a good man and I love him. What do you want Renee? I want to stay married and I love him more now that I am on the rails talking to a stranger. Renee just needs a nap and a few more broken sinks, I think.

She texts her man and his chest pumps up (in my mind's eye) with her want of him. He immediately responds with love and endearing phrases. Her stop comes up and we hug goodbye. Thanks for lifting me up she shares. Thanks for lifting me up, too. Meeting and opening up to a shared table and chat with Renee reminds me of a very basic to do, a to do we can not usually do in the chaos of our lives. That is: Notice when we are turned on, when we feel gratitude, when we are glad for the lives we have created (even with stepped in gum parts that inevitably sticky our lives up). One text, one thank you, a kiss can re-build a broken story. Thanks rail pal for the reminder of how fortunate I am to have my person and my purpose. I think I will send a text to my coach and also to my love (maybe I will get lucky with a broken sink scene when I arrive) and thank them for helping to orchestrate this lovely life chapter I am writing.

We all need a place to rest, to read, to think, dream and write. I found my productive space on a train. Yes, the library or Stumptown would be much more efficient checking out to check in spots, but the tracks influence my traction best. It is a bit old fashioned romantic to ride and write and anticipate the visit ahead, especially when I do not have to be stuck in a traffic jam. I have seven more vignettes to complete before birthday deadline and three more trains booked. I think I can, I think I can get it done before the midnight bell rings.