Mother on the Orient Express: Part Seven (The Train)

(I broke the train into two parts. The first part of the train (part six of the story) is here.)

We take the long walk toward dinner. Now we’re a little less sure on our feet. Mom’s getting tired, and I’m a little tired, and it’s darker. We make it to the bar car, which we have to go through to get to our dinner car.

We open the door. It’s different in the dark, more mysterious, more like a lounge, like you’d imagine. The piano abruptly stops and — “Sentimental Journey” begins playing. And Mom’s crying again, but this time she can’t sit because we’re on our way to dinner, so she kind of sits at this stool near the head of the piano, perched like she’s about to launch into song. But she’s crying and smiling and nodding, and I’m rubbing her back and it really must have looked like she was here on a Make A Wish. Read more

Mother on the Orient Express: Part Six (The Train)

So here’s what my mother didn’t know: that months ago I’d asked the Orient Express travel agent if she could help me make even more of Mom’s dreams come true. If you don’t remember, Mom wanted to sit in the bar car of the Orient Express, drinking a pink squirrel while listening to them play “Sentimental Journey.”

“I think we can try to figure that out,” said the agent, understandably hesitantly. Just in case, I emailed her two YouTube links to the song, plus a link to purchase the sheet music, and eBay’ed my own sheet music, which was nestled next to my laptop in my cabin. I emailed the recipe for a Pink Squirrel, which I found on the Mad Men website, of all places (go ahead and read it; it’s gross), and had a print-out of the thing in my notebook. In short: I dorked out. Read more

Anytime, Anywhere

Maybe I get cocky when I wear my America Is Scary t-shirt. People tend to stare, and sometimes make disapproving faces, so I have to keep my shoulders squared, my guard up, and be ready to defend myself, at least mentally, because shit, it can get scary out there these days.

So when stee and I were on the train from Connecticut to New York tonight, I probably should have realized I could get into some trouble. Read more

‘Til I’m Home Again and Feeling Right

It’s a very strange sensation, walking into my mom’s new house, seeing everything I associate with home (the dog, the bookshelves, the large dining room table, Mom) in a place I’ve never seen before in my life. It’s exactly like when you dream that you’re in your house but it’s not your house but it is your house. Dan’s standing there, in my house, next to my mom, which is very dream-like indeed, since I think they hadn’t seen each other in four years. Dan’s petting the dog, who is in a backyard I’ve never seen before, and Mom’s wearing an ankle bracelet I’ve never seen before. She lives in Connecticut now and I had nothing to do with this move. Her house is still in boxes. She shows me the bracelet — it’s from high school, when she went on a date with a boy. The boy is now a man and he is back in her life. She smiles as she holds it, her eyes getting a little dreamy. Read more