The Train to Minot

January 21, 2011 § Leave a comment

This post comes about a year late. I watched a few episodes of Dexter tonight and I’m afraid to go to sleep just yet, for fear of bad dreams. I thought I’d rummage through old writing notebooks and I came across a short essay. I wrote it a year ago, but had been thinking about it for six months before that. During the summer of 2009, I took a travel writing class at the Loft. I told my class I was taking the Empire Builder to visit my sister and her family and immediately they decided I must write a travel essay about the experience and title it: The Train to Minot. Well, here is the long-awaited (by a scant few) essay.

The Train to Minot

I woke up and saw white. No sky, no ground, no horizon to give a sense of depth. Just white for as far as the eye could see. I’m on the train to Minot.

I was giddy as a school girl when my ex-husband dropped me off at the station. (Who else would drive me to Midway at 11pm on a Friday night?) I wondered: what will the train be like? Will it be warm? In fact, it was quite hot.

I imagined fancy dining cars with men and women smoking and playing cards into the night. But when I ventured into the lounge, just an elderly couple sat visiting. They seemed nice.

I investigated the toilet, and found it was just like an airline toilet, if not smaller and dirtier.

I was sure I would meet interesting characters for my book–perhaps an intriguing young man–but the only interaction I had all night was from the thoughtful guy across the aisle who got up to retrieve my water bottle when it dropped and rolled up the car.

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