Mike walked by Cindy’s locker and she didn’t notice him; she was talking to her friend and then he overheard her say “I know, I couldn’t help telling people; it was so funny. Like he was so nervous and he thinks I’m going out with him?” I have to come up with some excuse; like I’m sick or something” said Cindy. Her friend replied “You didn’t tell Derek, did you” Cindy laughed loudly “Oh, he’s the first one I told. I thought he’d be angry but he thought it was hilarious” Mike couldn’t stand it anymore and walked in the other direction. He went to the corner to cry; his heart was broken in a million pieces and he hated crying but he was so overcome with emotions. At that moment a few boys saw him in the corner crying. One kid motioned to his friend “Hey guys, Mike’s crying. Check it out” Another kid said “dude what a loser, is this about Cindy Peterson. I heard about that, it’s hilarious. I guess she told you, huh? Everyone in school knows” People started laughing. Mike wiping a tear from his eye yelled Go to hell!! Get out of my face” Cindy overheard it while walking by; she shook her head and exclaimed loudly “Oh,, wow” laughing with her friends. After that even into adulthood Mike carried a fear of women he liked; this moment ended up to be a catalyst to an irrational fear of women. And maybe that’s why he feared when women got too close; he had replayed that humiliation over and over again for many years after that. The irony is after his memory loss; he became a man more comfortable around women; in fact, he was surrounded by three women that genuinely liked him; who weren’t going to hurt or humiliate him. But he felt nervous and didn’t know why; his memory was gone but the feelings remained.


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Mystery train part 10

Deborah came home to her husband; who was overcome with worry; he was sitting in an easy chair just tapping his fingers; with his phone by his side; just waiting for the phone to ring with the news that Dave was safe as well.  She felt guilty because she had been off to meet a male friend that Alex was unaware of. He was less of a friend and more of an ex- lover she had met in college. He called her a few weeks back and wanted to catch up; she still cared for him a great deal and wanted to see him but she was married to Alex now and it didn’t seem right to meet with him. “And yet I was going to meet with him anyway” she thought.  She realized that she was too focused on this and needed to tend to the needs of her husband and the search for Dave. She put those thoughts out of her mind for the time being.  Deborah said to her husband “Honey, I am so sorry; this is so awful; surely by this time I would have thought we would have heard something” Alex replied “I know, I just don’t know what to do; I haven’t moved from this chair since I called you but I know we have to find Dave” “So you talked to Dave’s family?” asked Deborah.  “Yes, I spoke on the phone with his parents and I guess they have already made a missing person’s report” “I was hoping it wouldn’t have come to this, but please, let’s stay positive, I’m sure we’ll find Dave and he’ll be ok” said Deborah ‘You’re right, well, maybe it’s a good idea if we search for Dave in the city” said Alex.  Deborah nodded her head in agreement.  Alex and Deborah spent the day driving down Seattle streets; searching for Dave with no avail; they spent hours seeing thousands of faces and none of them were Dave’s. They even drove past Melanie and Susan’s house but Dave was in the backyard smoking a cigarette while Susan shared with him some of her poetry; Alex and Deborah were so close and they had no idea.  Alex said to Deborah “You know maybe Dave isn’t even in the city; maybe someone took him somewhere; kidnapped; I mean, maybe he’s dead somewhere; killed by some maniac”.  “Alex., why the hell would you say that?”  exclaimed Deborah.  “We are trying to stay positive, remember?” she added.  “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to upset you” said Alex.   “Do you think it’s possible that he may have amnesia or something; I once saw this unsolved mystery episode and…”   Deborah interrupted him “That seems farfetched don’t you think?”  “I guess it is” replied Alex.  Right at that moment; Alex’s phone rang; it was Dave’s parents. He stopped the car and park right in front of the house where Dave was staying.  Alex picked up and it was Harold; Dave’s father.   “Hi Alex, I just wanted to let you know that we did file the missing persons report and the police in your area have been informed; they will be mobilizing soon and will start searching the area for Dave” “Wow” replied Alex. He added “I am really worried; I pray we will find him safe” “Of course” replied Harold.  “I have to go now but I just wanted to give you an update, we’ll call when we get more information” said Harold.   Alex said “Thanks for the calls, I will be on the lookout for Dave and you will continue to be in my prayers, take care.  “You too” replied Harold


Harold hung up the phone and put his arm around his crying wife.  “I’m really scared, our Dave!” said Margery through tears.  Harold held his wife tighter “I know, I know. We’ll find him, I’m sure of it” He hated seeing her so upset and wanted to cry himself but he needed to hold himself together for the sake of the rest of the family. A few moments later, Betty walked in with her husband and two kids, a boy and a girl; aged 9 and 6.  Betty gave her mom a big hug and they both cried; it has been a long night and Betty stated she hadn’t slept. Her husband seemed quiet as usual; going to the kitchen for a glass of water and to pet the family dog; he wasn’t good with emotional scenes like these; he cared; he just couldn’t express it. Betty sat down for awhile with her parents and tried to compose herself. She said to her father “I think we should tell the kids, what do you think?”  Harold replied “Honey, you do what you think is right” Betty motioned to her Husband Mark who was still in the kitchen; petting the dog. He sat next to her and she asked “Mark, I think the kids should know about their Uncle” Mark replied “Do you think they need to know, I don’t want to worry them” Betty said “Honey, they should know, I mean, they can see we are all upset and are probably confused” “Fine” Mark said.  Mark said nothing and walked back to the kitchen.  Betty hung her head down with a sad look. Betty and Mark’s relationship had been strained for some time and she was beyond hurt about Mark’s lack of response and inability to meet her emotional needs during this time. “I mean, my brother is missing for Christ’s sake and he could give a damn” she thought.  It made her parents so sad to see how Mark treated Betty. He had seemed so nice at first and now they could see this other side and it hurt to see their daughter treated this way but at that moment they had keep their thoughts on Dave.


Betty called her kids to the couch; Michael and Lisa.  “Michael, Lisa, can come sit on the couch with me and Grandma and Grandpa?”  They were busy watching tv but they jumped up and sat on the couch.  Betty said “I need to talk to you guys” “Are we in trouble?” asked Michael.  “Of course, not” replied Betty.  Lisa asked “Is It about Uncle Dave”  Betty looked confused and replied “Yes, it is, how did you know”  Lisa said “Well I heard you and daddy talking about him in the kitchen last night but I didn’t know what it was about”  Betty said to her daughter “Well, honey you shouldn’t listen to other people’s conversation, we talked about that ,remember?”  “Yes, I remember” said Lisa; rolling her eyes” Betty stated “Well your Uncle went on a trip to see a friend and no one can find him, He didn’t arrive to where he supposed to be and he hasn’t called us” “Uncle Dave is missing!?” exclaimed Michael.  “Yes, honey” Betty replied.  “And you know how much we love him, right” she added.  “Yes” the children added in unison.  “Well, Grandma and Grandpa and I went to the police station to let them know Uncle Dave was missing.  They are going to help us look for him, ok>” said Betty.  The kids look concerned and Lisa hugged her mom; now she was crying.  “It’s ok, honey” Betty said as she comforted her daughter. “We will find him safe and sound, ok/” added Betty. Lisa nodded her head.  Michael added “Don’t worry mommy, I’ll be strong for you, just like daddy is, he doesn’t cry” She looked to see her husband all alone in the kitchen; with a cold look on his face; not even being there for his children when they were upset.  “Yes, he doesn’t cry or show any emotion; even during times like these, and maybe that’s the problem” she thought.  She held both her children and said a little prayer; she wanted to find her brother and to hug him and tell him she loved him. She never appreciated him more than she did at that moment; she couldn’t bear the thought of losing her brother forever.


Back in Seattle at Melanie’s house; Dave and Susan continued to talk. Dave felt bad about finding her diary and confessed to her “Susan. I feel bad but while I was searching through the drawers upstairs for my clothes; I found your diary, I’m sorry” Susan laughed nervously “Oh, you saw that? No worries, I’ve shared most of those poems at the poetry reading so I have nothing to hide” Dave let out a small laugh and said “Oh ok, good. I feel bad for snooping” “Don’t feel bad, in fact if you want, I can share some of my poetry with you” she said.  Dave replied “Yeah, I’d love that. It means a lot that you want share it with me” She went upstairs to grab the journal and Dave couldn’t help but think that he was falling for Susan; she was sweet and really seemed to like him; she was willing to share her poetry with him and was giving him a lot of attention. But he also thought of Iris; she is the one that was there for him from the beginning; the one that vowed to not leave him until they found his identity; he cared deeply for her as well; he didn’t want to lose her. He wondered to himself; if something had happened between them prior to him losing his memory; he wondered what made Iris care for him so much.  This is what made the situation so difficult; his past was a blur and how could make present decisions when he couldn’t remember the past; he was so confused. As he was thinking; Iris looked at him from across the room; she was beautiful; the midday sunlight from the window illuminated her face; her beautiful curly hair bounced when she moved her head; her piercing eyes and red lips; never had a woman such as her taken any interest in him. As he was looking at Iris and she at him; he had momentarily forgotten about his feelings for Susan; he realized that maybe Iris in the short time of knowing each other had fallen in love with him; it was overwhelming to him; he didn’t know what to do with his feelings.   When Susan walked back downstairs; he look away from Iris’s gaze and said to Susan “Hey, do you want to go for a smoke and you can read me your poem?”   “Yeah” said Susan.  Iris turned away from Dave and her smile faded into a frown of sadness; she did her best to hide it from Dave.  It’s true, she had fallen in love with him but she’d never admit it.


Dave and Susan sat outside smoking while Susan opened her diary and shared some of her poems with Dave.  One poem was about a man she had been in a relationship for many years; someone who was in a band; who she’d been in love with and thought maybe she might marry him someday.  When she was finished reading the poem, Dave said “Wow, that really a great poem; very heartfelt, I can tell you really liked this guy” Susan replied “I was so in love with this guy; we had met in college; Gary was his name.  He was in a band I thought he cute and my friend introduced us and we just instantly got each other, you know?  We moved into together and at first things were great; he helped me write some his songs and play them for me; it was really sweet; you kind of remind me of him in a way (Dave blushed).  Susan noticing Dave’s blushing said “Aww your blushing that is so cute and I mean it by the way” Dave felt even more flustered which made Susan smile.  Susan said “Anyways, we along great and I liked him because he was kind and sensitive.  Gary had a lot of late-night gigs, so he’d be up all night but he’d always be home when I woke up or he would call and let me know he was alright. One morning I woke up and he was gone, no phone call, nothing. I called his cell and it went straight to voicemail.  I called my friend who introduced us and when she picked up the phone, I could hear a guy next to her. I said “Oh, Michelle, you got a guy with you”; I was joking.  She didn’t say a word but she sounded nervous. All of a sudden, I could hear Gary voice asking her if she wanted coffee.  I lost it.  I said “You know, what fuck both of you.”  Gary tried calling me several times and I would just hang up every time.  I never spoke to either of them again. It totally broke my heart” “I can imagine” said Dave.   Susan continued “When he finally got back home all of his shit was in the hall and I had kicked him out. I mean, I owned the lease and so he left and I sat in that apartment for hours crying and feeling betrayed.  That is when I wrote that poem; so, it means a lot to me” “I’m sure it does” said Dave.  Dave added “I am so sorry that happened to you; you seem no nice and you don’t deserve that” “Thanks for listening, Dave, you are sweet, I can tell you on a kind soul” she replied.  Dave said “Thanks maybe I am, I don’t know.  I could have broken so many hearts and not even realized it” Susan took his hands in hers and said softly “I don’t think so Dave” She gave him a big hug and kissed him on the cheek.

In fact, Dave’s heart been broken so many times he had lost count and yet he had broken very few hearts.  It had hurt him to the core; for years he thought of his inability to connect with women; the times he was rejected; the times where he’d daydream about the girls he could never have.  Before he had lost his memory, he often thought about the girl he liked in high school; she was gorgeous and popular and had plenty of boyfriends. He admired her from afar and never had to courage to talk to her until one day he got the nerve to ask her out; her name was Cindy Peterson.  He found her in the hall with her friends and asked her if he could talk to her.  Her friends laughed quietly but she said excitedly “Sure” Dave took her to the side and nervously asked her if she’d want to go to a movie with him (his hands were shaky and sweaty and he could his heart beating out of his chest; he was not good at hiding his nervousness) She sort of hesitated; taken aback by Dave asking her out; since they hardly knew each other.  She laughed nervously and she said “Yeah, that sounds great, here’s my phone number” She ripped out a page form her notebook; wrote down her number and drew a little heart. Dave was ecstatic; he couldn’t believe he had just gotten a phone number from this beautiful girl he had a crush on.   He told Alex about and he retorted with “Bullshit, man. She didn’t give you her number” As Alex said that, Cindy walked by and called out Dave’s name, waved and in a flirty voice exclaimed “Hiii, Dave see you on Friday” Alex was like “Oh dude, this is crazy. You weren’t lying, you’re really going out with her?”  “Yep” Dave replied with all the confidence in the world.  As Dave walked down the hall; he could see people looking at him and snickering. He had been bullied before but this seemed different.  Dave walked by Cindy’s locker and she didn’t notice him; she was talking to her friend and then he overheard her say “I know, I couldn’t help telling people; it was so funny.  Like he was so nervous and he thinks I’m going out with him?”  I have to come up with some excuse; like I’m sick or something” said Cindy.   Her friend replied “You didn’t tell Derek, did you” Cindy laughed loudly “Oh, he’s the first one I told. I thought he’d be angry but he thought it was hilarious” Dave couldn’t stand it anymore and walked in the other direction. He went to the corner to cry; his heart was broken in a million pieces and he hated crying but he was so overcome with emotions. At that moment a few boys saw him in the corner crying. One kid motioned to his friend “Hey guys, David’s crying. Check it out” Another kid said “dude what a loser, is this about Cindy Peterson. I heard about that, it’s hilarious.  I guess she told you, huh? Everyone in school knows” People started laughing. Dave wiping a tear form his eye yelled “Fuck you!! Get the fuck out of my face” Cindy overheard it while walking by; she shook her head and exclaimed loudly “Oh, Jesus” laughing with her friends.   After that even into adulthood Dave carried a fear of women he liked; this moment ended to be catalyst to an irrational fear of women.  And maybe that’s why he feared when women got too close; he had replayed that humiliation over and over again for many years after that. The irony is after his memory loss; he became a man more comfortable around women; in fact, he was surrounded by three women that genuinely liked him; who weren’t going to hurt or humiliate him. But he felt nervous and didn’t know why; his memory was gone but the feelings remained.



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The mystery train part 7

Meanwhile Alex was still waiting for Dave to arrive; it was already 3 pm and Dave said his train would arrive around noon.  Alex was concerned and tried calling Dave’s cell phone but failed to get an answer; each ring lead to a voice message “Hey you’ve reached Dave Jackson, please leave your name and number and I’ll get back to you”   Alex left the following message “ Hey, Dave, I know you said your train was due at noon but  I haven’t heard from you, buddy, just let know when you get here, alright?”  Dave was mildly annoyed first stating  “Dave was never on time when I met him and he was so unreliable”   but he that wasn’t the truth; he was just upset Dave was late. Alex’s wife Deborah; seeing Alex’s concern; tried her best to calm him “Well honey, trains can be late, you know, Dave will get here, ok, he said he’d be here and he will, so just try to relax and I’ll bring you a beer” said Deborah.   Alex sat down in his easy chair and just relaxed; watching a college basketball game on tv. He told himself to be patient; a part of him was nervous after not seeing his friend for so many years; so much had changed; maybe this was a bad idea.  3 pm turned into 6 pm and Alex went from being annoyed to concerned; it had been six hours already and no sign of Dave; not even a phone call; sure, Dave had been late in the past but he usually at least called.

Deborah said to her husband “Honey have you tried calling Dave” “Yes!!” Alex exclaimed slamming his beer on the kitchen counter.  Deborah hated to see Alex so upset.  Alex raised his voice “I have left 3 messages already and he hasn’t even called back” Deborah once again trying to calm down her anxious husband “Maybe you can call someone that knows Dave. Maybe they can clue us in” Alex nodded feeling a little calmer. “Yeah I can call his sister Susan; they are pretty close” Alex was hoping somebody could givr him an idea of what happened to Dave.  Maybe Dave got delayed; maybe he got the days mixed up.

Alex called and Susan picked up “Hello” said Susan in a quizzically voice obviously not recognizing the number on phone’s caller id.  Or maybe she couldn’t hear well; it sound liked she was at a noisy restaurant. Alex replied “Hi, Susan this is Alex Wilson; Dave’s buddy from high school.   She was confused because they never hung out during those high school years except on the occasions where Alex would stay over for dinner and he flirted with her relentlessly.  She replied “Oh Alex, a blast from the past. What are you doing calling me after all these years”   Mark said “ Well, it’s about Dave; I’m not sure if he told you but I invited him to my home in Seattle to visit and he was supposed to arrive today at noon and has yet to show up”  This was news to Susan because she didn’t know about a trip; then again they lead both busy lives and hadn’t spoken in quite a while.  She said “I had no idea about a trip although we haven’t talked in a while so….”    She like Alex felt concerned because in her experience; Dave usually showed up when he said he would; he wasn’t prone to standing people up and if he was going to be late, he would have called. Yes, this was odd.   Alex replied “Oh, ok. I’m just concerned because, you’re right, he would have called and I’ve left several messages and yet to get a response”.  She felt even more anxious; Dave usually returned calls and promptly and would usually answer within an hour or so even if he was working.  Susan stated “Well, Alex I am with my husband and the kids; we are also with my parents who talk to Dave regularly; do you want to talk to them?”   “Sure” Alex replied.  He could hear her put the phone down.   He could hear Susan say to her parents in the distance “Mom, Dad someone wants to talk to you” They were out to dinner and the Grandparents were walking around with the kids.  “Who is it?” exclaimed Susan’s father.   “Some old friend of Dave’s” she replied.   At this point Alex was growing impatient.  “Hold on” Susan stated.  “I’ll put them on speaker phone” “Hello” said Harold; Susan’s father.  Alex recognized the voice but he sounded older which shouldn’t have surprised Alex but it did.   Alex said “Hi, Mr. Jackson, it’s Alex Wilson; Dave’s old friend from high school” “Ohhh Alex, how are you” said Harold.  He then heard Harold motion to his wife Margery to come to the phone “Hi there, Alex “said the friendly voice; she sounded the same as he remembered.  “Hi Mrs. Jackson, I wanted to call you to let you know that Dave was supposed to be arriving here in Seattle at Noon and he never showed, I tried calling his cellphone and leaving messages but I haven’t heard from him.  Have you talked to him in the last few days?”  Margery replied “I knew he was taking a trip and a few days ago he called me from the train and said he was on his way and that he was safe; I haven’t heard anything else from him” He could hear her ask “Susan, did Dave call you” “No” replied Susan.  “I haven’t talked to him in over a month” (Although she was sure it was probably longer) They all grew concerned because this wasn’t like Dave.  Margie said “Alex, please let us know the moment you hear from Dave.  We are going to call him right away.  And if you don’t hear from Dave by tomorrow, please call us back” “Will do” replied Alex.


Margery hung up the phone with a deeply concerned look on her face.  “I have a bad feeling about this” she said in a somber tone.  “Mom” replied Susan.   “Dave is fine, he probably got his train times mixed up or something, maybe he forgot, and please don’t tell the kids about their Uncle, I don’t to upset them during dinner” The kids were looking at the fish tank with her husband; unaware of the situation.  Susan stepped outside to call her brother and got his voicemail “Dave, it’s me Susan” she said in a nervous voice.   “Look I just got a call from your friend Alex saying that you were supposed to meet him in Seattle at Noon today; it’s 9 here and I guess 6 there, I dunno, but anyways you’re late and I know that’s not like you, so please call Alex, me or mom and dad, we are concerned. Love you, brother” She knew something wasn’t right and had knots her stomach but regained her composure and walked back to her family sitting at the booth.  Her father gave her a look as to say “So, did he pick up?”   She quietly nodded no and the just continued eating his hamburger; trying to smile for the grandkids but pacing back and forth in his mind.  “Where could he be” he thought.  Margery just picked at her food; growing increasingly anxious; not being able to concentrate on anything else.

After dinner when Margery and Harold came home; they called Dave again; to get the same voicemail. They too left their message “Dave, it’s your dad. We haven’t heard from you since you were on the train. Just checking to see if you made it back alright. Talk to you later, goodnight” Margery took some pills she had prescribed for anxiety; by this point she was a nervous wreck.  She put on her nightgown and crawled into bed and started reading a book to calm herself down. Harold crawled into the other side of bed and let out a big sigh.  He said to this wife “You know, honey if none of us hear from Dave in the next day or so, we may have to call the police” Margery perked up “The police? Do you think it’s that serious?  “You don’t think someone hurt him, do you?”  She was now visibly nervous. Harold tried his best to reassure her “Let’s not jump to conclusions” as he folded his glasses back into the case.  “I’m sure Dave is fine but it might be an option” Margery lay down to sleep facing away from Harold said “Let’s just hope it doesn’t come to that” And with that they both hoped to God they’d get an answer by morning but for now they’d just have to wait.


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The mystery train part 6

As they walked off the train and onto the platform; Dave said with a sigh “Do you remember why I was going to Seattle, did I tell you?  Iris replied “No, you just told me you were headed to Seattle but didn’t give me any details” “Oh” stated Dave in a disappointed tone.   “Well, maybe I will remember soon” said Dave.   “Like I told you on the train; I’ll be here for you every step of the way until we figure who you are” said Iris with a smile.   They were both in a strange city that they had never been to before and they only had each other and the clothes in their suitcases. Dave had no money or cell phone and had to be reliant on Iris; she knew this and wasn’t quite sure if she was up to the challenge. She could barely take care of herself yet alone take care of another person; she was used to being on her own. But she liked Dave so much that she didn’t mind his company.  Her and Dave both sat down on a bench outside of the train station and Iris began to ponder about where they would stay; she didn’t know anyone in the city and Dave knew Alex but of course because of the amnesia; he had no recollection of his friend Alex inviting him to Seattle. Iris was worried because she had some money saved but wasn’t sure how long it would last; staying in Seattle; trying to find a hotel; eating and transportation; an expected turn of events for Iris. She tried her best not to show her concern to Dave; she didn’t want to create more stress than he already had.


It was rainy day which was not unusual for Seattle and both of them had no raincoat or umbrella; they were both soaked within minutes. Alex noticed a little coffee shop across the street and said to Dave “Hey we’re both tired; why don’t we grab a cup of coffee; warm up; get out of this rain and maybe we can figure what to do once we get some caffeine in us” David nodded his head silently in agreement; it had a been a long stressful trip and he was really tired.  They both walked in and it was a very hip coffee shop full of young hipster types; there were couches and little tables full of customers drinking coffee; Dave noticed a little turntable that was playing a Nick Drake album over the loud speaker; a memory was sparked; he liked music; particularly records. He felt he had heard this kind of music before but he didn’t know what it was or where he heard but it was comforting; they both liked the place.   As Iris looked around, she saw a small stage with a microphone. She noticed a bunch of posters on the wall for local bands and artists “hmmm” she thought.  She really enjoyed the arts; seeing music and poetry.  She immediately remembered that Dave had said that he wanted to be a writer and it sparked an idea.  “Hey, Dave, I know you don’t remember but you told me earlier that you wanted to be a writer” explained Iris.  “I did? I don’t think I could be a writer” Dave replied feeling confused and a little frustrated that this woman seemed to know things about him that he couldn’t remember.  “It’s ok, honey.  I thought maybe you’d enjoy seeing a poetry reading” said Iris with a smile on her face.  She was waiting patiently for a response from Dave who wasn’t quite sure about anything at the moment.  Dave responded with “Sure, why not” Iris gleamed with delight; she was hoping that if she could get Dave to meet other writers and artists; it could get him to start writing and maybe through writing; it could spark some memories within him and they could be closer to finding his identity; she had a good feeling about this.


They ordered their coffee and sat down on the couch.  Iris and Dave just sat silently and sipped their drinks; they were lost in thought; both contemplating what their next move in Seattle would be.  Iris finally said to Dave “We need to figure where we’re going to stay, let me search on my phone for some hotels” As Iris was on her phone Dave noticed the two girls that were sitting near them; they were  both looking at him and talking softly amongst themselves; they were really cute and Dave was wondering why they kept looking in his direction. He was usually shy around women he liked so he kept his head down and focused on Iris in front of him; focused on trying to get his memory back.  Suddenly the two girls approached Dave and Iris and asked “Hi, do you mind if we join you?”  Iris looking up from her phone exclaimed “Sure of course” Dave too shy to talk to these girls; muttered a soft hello with his head down.  Iris put her phone in her pocket and introduced herself and Dave.  “My name is Iris and this is my friend Dave” “Hi I’m Susan and this is Melanie” Melanie said in a cheery voice.  Susan was short and blonde with large rimmed glasses and had a tattoo of a rose on her shoulder. Melanie was taller with long black hair and also had various tattoos.  “So are you guys from around here, I see you guys have suitcases; so I am assuming you are visitors” said Susan.  “Yes, we just arrived here in Seattle” replied Iris.   “We both were on the same train to Seattle from New York” added Iris.  “Oh New York, what brought you all the way out here?” “No idea” replied Dave. Both girls laughed nervously; confused by Dave’s answer.  Iris felt a need to explain.  She asked Dave “Do you mind if I tell them?”  This seemed to pique the girl’s interest.  Dave said “Ok” “Well, it’s a long story but I met Dave in the train station and we ended up talking the whole train trip; he’s a great guy” Susan put her hand on Dave’s shoulder, laughed quietly and gave him a flirty look which annoyed Iris.  “Sometime during the night; Dave fell; bumped his head and when he woke, he had lost his memory” “I was supposed to go to Wyoming but just couldn’t leave him on his own so I decided to stay with him and he told me he was headed to Seattle” said Iris in a serious tone.  “I would leave him alone either” said Melanie with a big smile.  Iris ignoring her comment “So yeah, here we are” Iris said.



Melanie said “That is quite an interesting story and I am sorry that happened to you, Dave” “What are you guys going to do?”    Iris let out a big sigh and said “We have no idea; we are searching for hotels” Susan and Melanie looked at each other and both nodded.  Susan exclaimed “I know we just met and you can say no, but we are both renting a house not far from here.  We have a spare room and you can stay with us until you figure things out” Dave looked at Iris and waited for her answer.  Iris sat for a minute and thought about it.  She didn’t know these girls and didn’t fully trust them; she didn’t like how they were flirting with Dave and felt a ping of jealousy; she wasn’t sure if they were taking advantage of Dave in the state, he was in. At the same time, they needed a place to stay and who knows how long they’d be in Seattle.  Iris said to both girls “Do you mind if I take a few minutes and talk it over with Dave” “Sure” said Susan.    Iris and Dave walked over to a couch on the other side of the shop.  “Dave, do you feel comfortable staying with these girls?  Dave sat for a minute; thinking hard and replied “Yes, they seem nice and staying at a hotel could be expensive; what do you think?”    “I might be taking a chance but I think we should stay with them as well” They both walked back and Iris stated “Yes, we’ll stay with you until we can get all of this figured out, how much are you charging for rent?”   Susan replied “Oh, don’t worry about rent. Just do us a favor, chip in for groceries” “No problem” said Iris.   “Great, it’s all set” Melanie said.


Iris then asked about the poetry reading “So I guess they have poetry readings here” “Oh yeah, we have open mic nights 3 days a week with local artists; it’s great” said Susan.  “We both play guitar” said Melanie.  “Oh, that is cool!” exclaimed Dave.   “Yeah, we are in an all-girls band and play throughout the city” Dave thought that was cool. Iris seemed less impressed; maybe her jealously was getting the best of her.  “A lot of artists live around here.” said Melanie.  “That is good to know’ said Dave; his interest in these girls piqued. He had no idea why he was interested in the arts but he was sure sure it would come back to him.   Iris was excited about the poetry reading too. She figured that this could really help Dave and maybe she was changing her mind about these girls; they could inspire him to be creative.   She just needed to get over her jealously and be less possessive of Dave. I mean, they weren’t a couple and she had no reason to be jealous but she had developed feelings for him and it hurt to see these girls flirt with him.  She recalled how on the train; Jim had intruded on their lunch; making Dave feeling so small and flirted with her blatantly right in front of Dave; obviously hurting his feelings; she felt guilty about that at that moment.   “Now I know how it feels; maybe this is karma coming back to bite me in the ass” thought Iris.    Susan exclaimed “Well, do you guys want to head back to the house and get settled, we are only a few blocks away.  They all agreed and left the coffee shop to stay with complete strangers they had just met. They had no idea what lay ahead for them on this new adventure; that had so many twists and turns that they could barely keep up.  Both Dave and Iris looked at each nervously; hoping they wouldn’t regret this.


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The mystery train part 4

Dave spent the rest of the day cuddled up next to Iris; anxious about figuring who he was; Iris did his best to calm him.  She said “Dave, don’t worry I’ll help you; however long it takes” Dave had no idea who this woman was; how long he’d known her and why she was so willing to help him but for some reason he put his trust in her.   Iris was contemplating to herself if she should get off in Seattle with Dave and help him find his way or go to her intended destination where she was to visit a family she hadn’t seen in over a decade. Her Uncle had just died and she was posed to inherit quite a hefty sum of money; she was conflicted. She had grown to care about Dave in such a short period of time and she needed to help him find his identity. At the same time, she needed to see her family; heal the wounds from the past and this money could really help her get her life together. “What’s a girl to do” Iris thought to herself.   Iris had only a few days to make her decision. Dave could tell something was wrong and asked “Are you okay?”  Iris replied “Of course I am, honey, you just rest, alright?”   Dave nodded his head and put his head on her shoulder and fell back asleep.


As they got closer to Wyoming; Iris made a decision; she just couldn’t live with herself if she left Dave all alone somewhere; she had to help him.  She called her cousin Emily to let her know that she couldn’t make the trip.  “Emily, it’s me Iris; I’m on the train headed towards Wyoming” said Iris in an anxious voice” Emily replied sensing something wrong “Iris, it’s good to hear your voice.  You sound anxious, I know we haven’t seen you in a long time but thank you for being there for us, you know we love you” Iris felt so bad because she knew that canceling this trip would really hurt Emily.  They were really close as kids and Iris thought of her as a sister; since she was an only child. As they became teenagers; they grew apart and had lost touch with each over the years. Long story short Iris had stolen Emily’s long-term boyfriend and it caused a big rift between the two of them that was never mended. And Iris had mental health struggles with caused even more strain with her extended family and eventually she became estranged from them.   Iris thought about it for a second and swallowed hard she said “Emily, I cannot make it on the trip” “Emily replied “What do you mean? You’re already on the train. I don’t understand” Iris said “You see, I met this guy” and before she could finish her sentence Emily interrupted “Jesus, Iris, it’s always about some guy for you.  If it wasn’t my boyfriend; it was missing my wedding because you were out with your boyfriend doing god knows what” “You have always been a selfish bitch, you know” Iris feeling the anger rise in her.  “Listen, Emily; it’s not like that” Emily rolled her eyes; hoping Iris could sense her annoyance.  “Emily, I met this incredible guy and we got to talking and he is just so sweet. Anyways he fell; woke up and now has no idea who he is; he has total amnesia.   I cannot bring it to myself to leave him all alone. He’s supposed to be in Seattle and his wallet and phone are missing; he has no idea who he is”  “So don’t call me selfish or bring up the past; that’s really fucked up; you keep throwing the past at me and it’s not fair”    Emily realizing that Iris was sincere apologized profusely; she really did love Iris and was just hurt that she had let her down once again. When she found out the kind thing she was doing for Dave; Emily realized she had been wrong. They both said their goodbyes and Iris promised to come back to Wyoming once everything with Dave was settled; a promise she intended to keep (unlike the thousands of promises she had made in the past)


The train stopped in Wyoming and Jim got off; Iris could see Jim from the window as he got off the train. From the platform; Jim flashed her a smile which sent chills down her spine and she didn’t know why. Something about the smile bothered her; like he knew something she didn’t.  He had given her really bad vibes and was she wasn’t regretting stay with Dave on the train.  Jim was a complete jerk and she had made so many mistakes in the past with men like Jim.  She had a good feeling about Dave; he was just such a sweetheart and she truly believed fate had brought them together.


As Jim got off the train; he realized that Iris had earlier said that she was going to Wyoming and yet she was still on the train with Dave. He felt a fit of anger and jealousy; he sat on the bench until the train left the station.  He walked out of the station into the prairies of Wyoming; muttering to himself “that son of a bitch, steal her from me; well you paid for it, didn’t you, you bastard” Jim took out Dave’s phone and threw it on the ground; stomping it with his foot; and the phone became a mound of broken pieces.  He threw the bits and pieces of Dave’s digital life into a field. He took Dave’s wallet and broke apart of all of his credit cards; his id; everything and threw it in the air; laughing like a child; a man in a pickup truck drove past him; shaking his head.  Jim was satisfied and could now do what intended to do on this trip; get the money he was owed; he was going to get that money one way or another he though to himself as he clutched to the knife he had in his pocket.


Meanwhile on the train; everything went smoothly from that point on and they only about 2 days left on this train trip.  Iris hoped in this time Dave might start remembering but he still didn’t have a clue but he felt more comfortable with Iris and she began to talk about herself more.  She told him about her Uncle’s death; her cousin Emily and the strain with her family; Dave listened patiently as Iris poured her heart out to him.  She admitted to Dave that she hadn’t seen her family over in 10 years and suffered from mental illness.  “Does that bother you” asked Iris.  “Of course, not Iris” replied Dave.  “Does it bother you that I can’t remember who I am or how I know you?   Iris said “No honey, I am going to help you and will be there for you” Iris looked into Dave’s eyes with a loving look; she kissed him passionately to Dave’s surprise.  As much as she couldn’t believe; she was falling in love with Dave. She’d been with so many guys and lived with a few of them for many years but she never felt the way she did about this man she had only met a few days earlier.  And although had no idea who she was is; he knew she cared and slowly felt himself falling in love and a part of him didn’t want to know his old life; especially if Iris wasn’t a part of it.


The 2 days passed quickly and finally the announcement came from the loudspeaker that they were close to Seattle.  Dave asked “Something about Seattle seems to familiar; am I supposed to be there?”  Iris lit up; realizing that maybe part of Dave’s memory was coming back.  “Yes, Dave” exclaimed Iris in a cheery voice.  “Yes, you are going to Seattle, is there anything else you can remember?”   Dave shook his head no; Iris was disappointed.  “It’s a start” Iris thought to herself.   About 30 minutes later another announcement “We have arrived at the King’s street Seattle station; please use the front exits and de-board in an orderly fashion.  Dave felt nervous and anxious about what lay ahead for him but he took comfort in the fact that Iris would be with him. Iris felt nervous too; she had no idea how long she’d be in Seattle or what would happen along the way. They both got their bags and walked towards the exit; the old man who was seated in front of him; wished his luck and shook his hand.  Dave wondered why this man was friendly with him; he had no idea that he had even talked to this man before.  They both stepped off the train into a city they had both never been too (although in Dave’s mind he could have been here 100 times and never known it) ready for a new adventure they’d never forget; in Seattle



The mystery train part 2

They had a nice lunch and Dave found this woman to be great company; although he began to feel suspicious that this mystery woman was asking him all of these personal questions and was unable to reveal anything personal about herself; he told himself it didn’t matter; he was just flattered she was taking an interest in him and she really was beautiful. She had this air of confidence that made him so attracted to her.  He had always been attracted to strong independent free-thinking women; ones that preferred deep conversation over surface level chit chat; he hated small talk. Sadly, most of the women he knew were experts in the art of small talk but couldn’t hold a conversation to save their lives. With Iris; he was hanging on to every word; she was just so smart and clearly an intellectual; which was a rarity to come across. And was she funny; she had a real smart sarcastic type of humor that Dave appreciated; anyone that could make him laugh was good company. This woman was like a dream come true and he was beginning to really understand what she had meant earlier about fate bringing together.  Dave was really enjoying himself; getting lost in the conversation and the beauty of this woman; when all of a sudden, a man interrupted him; Dave felt intimidated because this was one of those good-looking guys that women always threw themselves at.  The man said to Iris “I’m sorry to interrupt but do I know you from somewhere” Iris replied “No, I don’t think so; maybe we met in a past life” she said with a giggle.   “Maybe, you certainly have a face that I’d remember, hi I’m Jim”   At this point Dave felt so uncomfortable; she was just as flirtatious with this guy as she was with him; and she was doing it right in front of him; he felt like disappearing; he had no idea how to react and he ended picking at his food silently while the two continued to flirt as if he wasn’t even there.   She asked him about where he was going and he said Wyoming for business and she exclaimed overexcitedly “Wyoming!! That’s where I’m going what a coincidence” “That’s funny” thought Dave.  “I asked  her about where she was headed and she gave me this bullshit about going wherever the train takes her and now she’s tells this guy she’s going to Idaho, what the hell”  Without even asking Dave; Iris invited this man to their table to eat; he happily obliged and Dave could feel himself  become beet red in embarrassment; he could tell this man felt he was superior to him; the kind of guy who could get anyone woman he wanted and here he was intruding into this great conversation he was having with this beautiful woman; what a jerk.  He want to just get up and leave the two of them but instead he stayed while they talked.  The man said “By the way, my name is Jim and I can just say you are a beautiful woman; I’m sure your friend has probably already mentioned that” Iris blushed.   “Does she flirt with every single guy she meets” thought Dave.   Dave felt he had enough; he excused himself and said “Well, I’ll leave the two of you to finish your lunch” Iris said “No, honey. Stay with us; you seem upset what’s wrong” Dave thought carefully and said “I’m not upset but I feel a little tired and I just need to go back to my seat.  Iris “Ok, I’ll see you back there, ok?    “Sure” replied Dave.   As he was walking out of the dining car, he felt defeated; he could hear the talking and laughing as if they had known each other all their lives; he felt so low.  He felt annoyed that Jim had come out of nowhere and now had all the attention of Iris.  He wondered why he was hung up on a woman he just met; he was just hurt; he thought there was a spark but he guessed he was wrong.


Dave returned to his seat; trying not to appear anxious. He reminded himself; he was on this train to see his friend Alex and that’s all that mattered but he kept thinking about Iris.   He thought about all of his dating failures ; his inability to get over his fear of women; he felt they never gave him a chance; his anxiety always got the best of him and relationships felt apart sometimes even before they began; he saw other people successful in relationships and wonder why he struggled so much; it really made him depressed,  As Dave was lost in his thoughts; the old man from earlier sat next to him and said “ I was walking through the diner car and I saw what happened with the young man and the girl you were talking to”   “I warned you she was trouble; I could just tell; wasn’t I right”  Dave replied “ I don’t mean to be rude but I don’t see how that is any of your business”  The old man replied “ Look, kid.  I’ve been around a lot longer than you and I know trouble when I see it, ok”    “That young woman may be beautiful but be careful of those that become too friendly too quickly; they usually don’t have your best interests at heart, my advice is that we have a long trip, keep your distance, and count it as a blessing that she’s talking to this other guy and not you.   Another woman chimed in “Look I also know it’s also none of my business but I think this man is right, if she dismisses you like that; like you’re nothing; is she really worth talking to; even if it is for a train trip.   If you want you can just sit next to me and I’m sure she’ll just end up talking to this other fella anyways; no offense” Dave felt so embarrassed at this point; he didn’t ask for anyone’s advice; especially about his love life or lack thereof.  But Dave took what they said to heart and said” Maybe you are both right; I am just not used to beautiful women paying attention to me”  The woman stated : You are such a handsome sweet kind guy; you’ll find someone; I’m sure of it”   Dave felt a little better and decided to forget about what happened and try to focus on seeing Alex in a few days.


About 20 minutes later; Dave saw Iris as she was walking back from the dining car; she had a big smile on her face and was giving him the same look, she did in the train station.  “I bet she was really impressed by him” “She probably think I’m loser compared to that guy” thought Dave. Iris sat down next to Dave and grabbed him arm and put her head on his shoulder; as if they were friends and hadn’t just met hours before.   She said “ I could tell you were upset, you don’t have to be”  “I really like you, Dave; you’re cute and sweet and way more interesting than Jim”   “We talked for a bit but he kept hitting on me and wanted me to go to his sleeping cabin and I was NOT interested; he persisted and I finally told him to fuck off; why are some  guys such assholes, you know?”   “I don’t know” replied Dave.   “You are really different than most guys, aren’t you Dave?”   “And that’s why you are so such a catch” Dave ears perked up and he could feel his heart race; an anxious reaction.  Dave said “ I don’t know about that; I don’t have much luck with women”  Iris stated “I don’t believe that at all; maybe you haven’t met the right kind of woman, you never know she could be right under your nose and you don’t even realize it” she said with a sly smile and right then Dave knew without a shadow of a doubt that this woman was coming onto to him.  When it came to dating; Dave preferred women to make the first move; he wasn’t the aggressive type; and he had yet to find a woman that was willing to make the first move; yet Iris had guts and wasn’t afraid to show interest in a man she liked. Dave was taken back but welcomed it; he had forgotten the conversation with two other passengers’ moments before; the old man looked back sternly but Dave ignored his glances. The other woman was asleep with her headphones on; Dave didn’t care; Iris was flirting big time and he wasn’t going to stop her.


The mystery train part 1

Dave had just come from work; he had a job as a computer programmer; a job he hated with a passion; his boss was overbearing and critical; once admonishing him in front of everyone in a staff meeting; which lead to Dave sneaking away during his lunch break; to  silently cry in utter humiliation.  Dave was not liked much by his co-workers either; there were countless times he overheard them making plans to go out to the bar that he was never invited to.  He used to feel like such a loser when he heard them discuss all the things they did during of the weekend; when he stayed at home playing video games and watching anime; a grown man watching anime; how embarrassing.  Dave was lonely he very few friends and even then, they only called him once in a while; maybe to play cards and go to lunch but he hadn’t heard from them a few weeks.  Dave felt so depressed and lonely and consider his life to be an utter failure; this is not what he had planned in his mind when I was 36. In fact, when he was younger; he was very creative; often writing stories; those that knew him said that he’d be a famous writer someday. Well those days were gone, When Dave entered college; he soon realized that while writing was a nice hobby; he could never make a living that way; so, he got a degree in his other hobby; computer programming; thus, the reason I was stuck in a boring job that hated; he justified it because it payed the bills.

As Dave sat down; checking his DVR for his taped shows; he got a phone call; it was his best friend Alex from high school; they hung out together almost everyday but fell apart when they went to different colleges. Dave was surprised to hear from him because it had been at least 10 years since they’ve spoken and wasn’t prepared for this phone call; he didn’t like surprises from his past.  Alex exclaimed “Hey Buddy, it’s me Alex, man; I was just calling to see hello, it’s been way too long”  Dave hesitated for a moment and thought about his response he said “ Yeah, I know, I was thinking about how you were doing the other day, I saw your mom at the grocery store ( Which was lie)”  “What have you been up to?”   Alex replied “Well, I moved to Seattle, actually, I’m now a Pastor at a church here.   Dave was surprised since Alex partied quite a bit in high school and never pinned him as the religious type.  Dave said “Oh wow, how did that come about?” “Alex began to tell a personal story (  stories like these always made Dave uncomfortable)          “ Well, during college I developed a drinking problem and I ended up dropping out; I became depressed and just spent all of my time being drunk; meeting the wrong kinds of people and I ended up in jail and while I was there I discovered God and turned my life around; I got out; started a community outreach program for troubled youth and one thing lead to another and now I am a pastor; pretty crazy, huh?”  “I got married to a wonderful woman and we just our first baby a year ago”  Dave didn’t know how to respond and all he could say was “ That’s a quite a story, man.  I’m happy you got your life together” “My story is not quite as interesting; you know how I wanted to be writer; well that never happened. I ended up getting a degree in computer programming and I am at the same job I was at right after college; I can’t believe it’s been 14 years.  Alex said “ Hey you made something of yourself; you should be proud”   Anyways, I called you actually because since we were best friends in High School; I just feel bad that I never called you or added on Facebook; it wasn’t personal; just a lot of stuff going on, you know and it’s something that I regret” Anyways, I was wondering if you are able to make a trip to see; you can stay here, obviously”  I know it’s a lot to ask but I just can’t make it back east and I want you to meet my family and see the church that I preach at”   Dave thought about it for second and knew he need a break; a vacation and not just from work but from the place he had grown up all his life; he didn’t travel much and had never been to the West Coast; this could be an adventure.  Dave said “Sure, yeah I’ll go” “I have some vacation time; how about a month from now?”  Alex said that would work and Dave hung up the phone; feeling excited about the trip.   Dave had one little problem; he was terrified of planes; he had been since he was a kid; being in the air at 3,000 feet; with the possibility of a crash or a hijacking; sent his anxiety skyrocketing.  And Dave was not going to drive all the way to Seattle in his car; he had never driven more than 100 miles out of town and he wasn’t going to start now.  It was clear to Dave; what a sheltered existence he had and it made him feel a little sad.  His only choice was to take the train; sure, it was old fashioned and would take days; but hey it might be fun; he might meet new and interesting people and really see parts of the country he had never seen; all from his train window; another adventure.  It was settled he was taking the train and yes, this was going to be quite the adventure.


A month later Dave was all set to make his cross-country trip; something he had been waiting for; he both excited and anxious; he had never been this far from home.  He told his friends and family all about the upcoming trip and they all wished him luck.  The morning of the train trip; Dave had a feeling of dread; knots in his stomach and a lump in his throat.  He wasn’t sure why he felt this had but it was a feeling he couldn’t shake.  He sat on the couch; dizzy from the anxiety; wondering if he should just call off the trip. Dave was a pretty anxious guy and he thought of everything that could have gone wrong; maybe the train would crash; maybe Alex wouldn’t be happy to see him; maybe his bags might get lost; all the worst possible scenarios. Dave had a long history of anxiety and he worried he might forget his anxiety meds or get lost with his bags.   Dave did some deep breathing; got himself together and drove to the train station.


Dave arrived at the station and found the parking lot completely empty; which he thought was strange; since it was in the middle day.  He entered the station expecting it to be empty but to his surprise; it was filled with people; it lively even; people seemed to be in a jovial mood; as if it was a celebration.   He had no idea what was going on and walked up to the man at the counter and handed him his ticket; the man was an older gentleman who looked like he had probably worked here all his life. He gave Hank and big smile and exclaimed “Are you ready for the trip of a lifetime, young man” “I guess” replied Dave.   He looks puzzled because it seemed like a weird thing to say.  He walked back to his seat and waited for boarding to be called; it felt like hours.   A beautiful woman with curly hair and the bluest eyes with bright red lipstick and a scarf sat in front of him; staring at him with her piercing eyes.   At first, he quite enjoyed this woman staring at him but he soon felt quite uncomfortable and intimidated by this mystery woman.  He finally uttered ‘Hi, I’m Dave, how are you?”   “I’m going to Seattle where are you headed” She laughed quietly and said “I’m going wherever this magical train takes me; to whatever universe awaits me” “Ooook what a weirdo.”  Hank thought to himself but he politely replied “Oh cool”; hoping this awkward conversation would end soon and with sheer luck; at that moment; their train was called to board.


Dave grabbed his bags and started making his way towards the train platform; it was a long way to the train; all of a sudden one of the lights above him burst and he was in sudden darkness; he tripped; dropping one of his suitcases; causing all of his clothes to fall to the ground. In a fit of frustration, he screamed out “dammit”. All of sudden; he heard the sound of high heels tapping quickly behind them and a hand on his lower back.  He heard “Oh honey, let me help you.  He realized it was the woman he had met moments before.  He was always so nervous around beautiful women and he already felt flustered; he stumbled over his words and muttered a “thank you, I appreciate that” She exclaimed “I am so excited to be spending this whole train trip with you; I think fate brought us together” Dave couldn’t believe his ears; as he gathered the rest of his scattered clothes.   It seemed that this beautiful woman was flirting with him. He never had luck with women; he had only a few steady girlfriends and those relationships never lasted; it attributed it all to his nervousness.  A beautiful woman like this never talked to him like this; it was almost surreal.  He finally got his things together and they both headed towards the train.   The beautiful woman finally introduced herself she said “By the way, my name is Iris” “That’s a beautiful name” stated Dave.   “Thanks” she said. Dave was mesmerized by this beautiful woman; her voice; those eyes and her flirtatious nature; she was so mysterious; they were both so lost in talking to each they had almost forgotten to board the train; they were both interrupted by the sound of man on the train yelling “Alllll aboard”.  They both headed as quickly as they could and finally boarded the train.

Dave entered the train; placed his bags in the compartment and sat down; preparing himself for a long journey. He plugged his phone so it could charge it; he planning on spending most of this trip; listening to music and just binging on Netflix.  As he settled in felt a tap on his shoulder; it was Iris; she was sitting behind him in the seat behind him; she motioned for him to sit next to her.  This was all too much; his anxiety was sky high but he obliged and was excited at the prospect of sitting next to this beautiful woman for the whole trip; who seemed very interested in him; and this he couldn’t possibly understand; it just didn’t make sense but he went with it. He moved to her seat and Dave took a deep breath because this was totally unexpected and by this point, he had all forgotten about seeing his friend in Seattle; his job he hated and the studio apartment he lived in because he couldn’t afford anything else; all he could think about this mysterious stranger; seated next to him.  As the train left for the station; his stomach filled with butterflies as this woman kept flirting with him; this was going to be a long trip indeed.


As the train moved closer and closer to his destination; Iris flirted relentlessly; asking personal questions and continuing to stare at Dave with those eyes that he felt immersed in. She asked him about his childhood and family, what his passions were.  Finally, Dave quipped “You are asking me all these questions but you haven’t said anything about yourself” “Tell me, who is Iris?”  Iris lowered her head to the ground and looked nervous. She replied “What’s to say”  “I grew up with a family I hate; I left home at 17; to become an artist and I’ve been just traveling from here to there; meeting all sorts of people and getting into crazy jams; that’s pretty much me”   Dave replied “Wow,  you sound like a free spirit; you just go wherever the wind takes you, huh”  “That’s a very interesting way of putting of it” said Iris.   “When I was a kid, I wanted to be artist too or maybe a writer; I had all these stories in my head, you know” Dave stated.  “I knew it, I just Knew it” Iris said.  “I knew there was something about you, you seem sensitive and expressive; a kind soul; you are a born writer” “I don’t know about that” said Dave.   Iris exclaimed “Don’t doubt yourself, Dave” “You have a creative spirit; own it” Dave was hanging on to every word.  Iris said “I use to fill notebooks with poetry and thoughts and it was such a release, you know”.  “And I’ll tell you there is nothing more attractive to woman than man that can write well; especially poetry” she said with a wink.  Dave turned to the window and felt himself blushing at this woman’s attention; he was trying to play it cool but he could sense his anxiety was showing.   But yet it didn’t deter Iris from talking to him.  As he talked with Iris; he became more and more comfortable; sharing more personal information with her; his fears and anxieties; his issues with his ex-girlfriend; his boss that yelled at him at work; he couldn’t believe he was telling her all this information but he couldn’t help himself; he was putty in her hands.   Iris got up for a moment and left Dave alone with his thoughts. As she escaped from his view; an older woman; said to him “Be careful” “What do you mean” asked Dave.   She turned around and said nothing.  When Dave asked; the older woman refused to turn around and walked into another train car; he didn’t see her for the rest of the trip.  He thought to himself “What did she mean by be careful” This all made him very nervous.


Iris came back a few minutes later and said to Dave “Hey are you hungry?”  “we can get lunch in the dining car, my treat” Dave replied “Sure” As he was walking behind Iris toward the dining car; an older man grabbed Dave’s arm and sternly whispered his ear; didn’t that other lady tell you to be careful” Dave annoyed; walked away without responding to the old man.  He was getting frustrated at all of these nosy old people who wouldn’t mind their own business. A part of him; was questioning Iris’s friendliness but he ignored at the prospect of getting attention from this woman even if things seemed to escalating quickly. He moved forward and just went with it; like the free spirit he wished he was.


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