-Train of Memoirs-
Abstract: A girl wakes up on a monorail, she is a little lost and believes she fell asleep and might have missed her stop. She sees a boy, the only one on the train with her, in his dark eyes and friendly smile she sees more than just another stranger's face, she sees her long forgotten past. Is he just a fellow passenger she's never met or is he something much more?
My eyes bolted open and I was suddenly awake from the train going over a few bumps. My head was throbbing as I looked around. Did I miss my stop? What was my stop? I couldn't seem to remember. I hated it when I dosed off like this. I must have been asleep for a long time because from looking out the window it was pitch dark, or maybe the train is going through a tunnel. That's strange, I thought as I noticed that I also had nothing on me: no bag, no purse, nothing not even a magazine or book. I looked at myself in the reflection of the window, seeing that I didn't look like I slept for long by the neatness of my hair and clothes.
What train am I on? It looked like any other train, with ads on the walls and crinkled newspapers on the ground. The car was empty with only one other person besides me sitting far back on the other side. A boy, about my age, attractive, not stunningly gorgeous, but good looking in an unkempt college boy way with a tall lanky build and shoulder length disheveled sandy brown hair that every now and then he'll push back out of his face revealing his dark eyes that I seem to know. He was lost in reading a book, not taking notice of my presence. I looked again to see what interesting book he was so lost in reading, the jacket was blank. That was yet another strange thing
I got up from my seat and walk down the flickering, dim-lighted aisle and approached him. This is so embarrassing, "Excuse me, sir?" I tapped him getting his attention.
He looked up at me with those eyes and in that moment my stomach dropped and my heart paced as goose bumps started to come as I looked in his eyes. What was it about him? He was not that good looking, cute in a John Cusak type way, but surely no Brad Pitt. Yet his face intrigued me; spellbinding was the better word to use. He smirked at me, "Sir? I don't look that old, do I? Are my clothes really that dated?" He laughed.
His clothes weren't dated, timeless I would say with his tan khakis and blue button down collared shirt rolled up to his elbows. "Sorry it's one of those polite tendencies I use, I didn't mean anything by it," I said, hoping I didn't offend him
"I know, I was just kidding, I mean 'Sir' is much better than 'boy', which is usually what I'm addressed with by strangers. I'm not insulted really. 'Sir' is an improvement," he joked, "I'm Brandon by the way." He held out his hand.
I took out mine and we shook hands, and suddenly there was an electric jolt through my spine as an image flashed in my mind, an image that flashed too quick to tell what exactly it was, a quick image of me---I let it go, "And I'm—"
I'm what? I couldn't remember my own name. No, that's silly, it's impossible for anybody to forget their own name.
"You're—?" he asked
"When's the next stop?" I asked looking out the window at the still pitch-dark black view of nothing. Something wasn't right, why couldn't I remember anything: how I got here, why I was here, why I don't know my own name?
"Depends," he casually shrugged.
"On what? This is a public train that has to have stops that stop at a specific time and place."
What's going on here?
"Relax, you're on the right track," he teased.
"What time is it?" I asked.
"Don't know," he picked up his book.
"Where's the next stop? Where are we?" I was in a panic.
"Again it depends."
"Who are you? I think I know you from somewhere," I asked now in suspicion on his calm and yet rude behavior.
"You tell me," he lowered his book and looked deep into my eyes.
It happened again the flashing pictures of---I was so confused.
"Just calm down, you're safe for now."
I didn't like the way he said that. "Who are you?" I asked again, standing up.
"You know me," he replied.
Frustrated by his answer, I walked away from him and down the aisle to the door to the next cabin and reach out to the lever and pulled. The door wouldn't budge.
"Don't bother, please sit down, let's talk."
I turned towards him, looking at him skeptically, "About what?"
"What do you want to talk about?"
I wasn't in the mood, I wanted out, I wanted to know what exactly was going on and why was everything so eerie. "How do I know you?" I walked back to him.
"How do you not?" he quipped as if I should know.
I sat down across from him, putting enough space between us. I was frightened by his evoking face, "You're familiar. I'll give you that."
"Thanks I guess, I don't know quite how to take that response," he said, sounding a bit hurt, as he put his book down. I then noticed that the pages were blank as well as the jacket.
"What are you reading?" I wanted to see how he answered this and if I could trap him.
"Nothing indeed, the pages are blank," I retorted, mad that he didn't answer me truthfully.
"Yes my favorite book, where the story isn't quite written out."
It was another weird double meaning, riddle-type answer. Just tell me damn it, tell me what's going on and what you're hiding! "And what's that suppose to mean?"
"How long have I been sleeping?" Maybe I was drugged, that would explain why I couldn't remember anything.
"What?" Four days? That was impossible to comprehend. I could not had been asleep for days and not have any bed hair.
"You've been sleeping for four days."
"That doesn't make sense."
"It makes perfect sense."
If I don't get answers soon, I'm—"No, I can't be asleep for that long, that's impossible."
"You never told me your name," he changed the subject
I was getting angrier by the minute; he knew I couldn't remember. "What is my name?" I asked.
"Why would I know?"
"Why would you not?" I mockingly rephrased his past answers. Then I got it, what this could be, "You're holding me hostage, that's what this is, isn't. You drugged me, so I wouldn't know what happened. Of course—"
"Have you've ever been to Ampleton beach?" He interrupted me suddenly.
Images flashed once more of him and me on a beach laughing and—"Why do you ask? Is that where you're taking me?"
"Well have you?" he ignored my kidnapping questions.
"Yes I've been there," I answered. "Why do you ask?" I repeated firmly.
"Just curious, I have so many great memories of that place."
"Memories of what?" I pursued.
He could be a stalker, which would explain the memory of us together.
"You know," he answered.
"How do I know?" I pursued further hoping his reply would not be, 'How do you not?'
"I'm familiar to you, you gave me that, now tell me why I am."
"I don't know! Please just tell me! Tell me!" I screamed.
That bastard, who most likely drugged me, expected me to know?
"I can't, you have to figure it out. I can only help you to remember, that's all," he explained tenderly with sadness in his eyes, "I can't explain this, but you're not being held hostage, at least not by me."
"Remember what?" I tried to remain calm.
My life? …I don't know. What's happening?I don't know! I just don't know. I thought I just forgot where I was, but I couldn't remember anything of my life and myself. I couldn't have forgotten that. How could I?
"Tell me about Ampleton Beach," he broke my trance.
"I was there." I went through the images.
More images flashed of me there, "I lived there." An image of an old woman with short brown curly hair and glasses, "With Nana Hannah, when I was sixteen, after my mother died." This is so odd.
"Did you go to Westchester high?"
Wait a minute—"I did go to Westchester but it wasn't a high school, it was a college!" I correct from new images popping in my mind, "Yes! That's it! A college in the city." As I said that, I then noticed words now in the pages of his book.
He saw what I was looking at, "Oh look, some of the book's filled out," he said, while flipping through the pages, "We still have ways to go."
"Ways to go until what? And what's with that book? Why are there words now in there?" I stood up again annoyed beyond belief and panicky.
"Is this train familiar to you as I am?"
I nearly tumble down as the flashing images came again, making me realize—
" Brandon!" I gasped.
I know him! He was not a kidnapper, or a stalker. He was Brandon Gardner; I met him on the train on my first day of school, just like now, me missing my stop and getting lost.
"I remember now! I was on this train to go to school, this has happened before. When is the next stop to Westchester, Brandon? I'm so sorry to bother you again; I won't cause you to miss your class this time, I promise."
I got up and looked at the route map above the window.
"Wait! You're misunderstanding." He stood up, "You're not on your way to class!"
"No?" I realized some more, "That's right! We're on a date! We dated, you and me, how could I forget? We went to this French restaurant, you really wanted to impress me, not knowing that deep down I was a Mac-in-cheese girl, and later we winded up going to the arcade having more fun on nickels and dimes than twenty dollar courses. We rode this very train back, the same train we met on. We became inseparable after that becoming an item all though college and—"
I jumped and gasped at my reflection as I looked below the route map. I looked different. I was older looking with shorter hair and a different outfit.
" Brandon, what's happening?" I ask, trembling and backing up in fear, as I continued looking at myself.
He came up behind me, embracing me as he whispered in my ear, "What happened after college?"
"We got married at Ampleton Beach," I said to myself as this revelation dawned on me, just who this familiar stranger, this friendly college mate, truly was…my husband.
I stood there in front of my reflection, now in my wedding dress, as the memories came to me bringing every feeling; happiness, fear, completion in knowing you have someone with you no matter what, and the promise of everlasting love. I loved him, how funny that only minutes ago I though he was a kidnapper. I suddenly turned to him, now face to face with my husband. We were so close to one another, I must have hurt him so much to forget him and treat him like a stranger. How could I? It was Brandon. I embraced him and covered his face with kisses, happy to have him.
"Oh Brandon, I'm so sorry, I don't know how I could have forgotten you, you out of all people, it's crazy. I don't know what happened, but I'm glad you're here and we're all right—"
He broke away from me, looking down at that damn book.
"Is there something wrong?" I asked.
"Already in just minutes you filled up nearly most of the book. I was hoping it would take more time," he looked out the window in sadness, his eyes glistening.
Something wasn't right. I went up to him, holding the masses of fabric, trying not to trip on my dress, " Brandon, what's happening to me?"
I too was sad knowing that something terribly wrong happened that was causing all this weirdness.
"I can't tell you, you have to figure it out by yourself and fill up your book before this train stops."
"What about you?" I asked not wanting to know, because he being here with me wasn't a good sign, whatever this place was.
"You'll remember soon enough." He paused and turned his head towards me, "What did we do after we got married?"
Why was he going along with this?! I grew stubborn, "No, I don't want to remember and fill your stupid book! I want to stay here as we are, together. I feel that something bad happened between us later on and that is why we're here. I want us to stay like this; happy is our own world in the train where we met for as long as we can!" I cried as all the love I had for him was there, as if it had never left me...and would never leave me.
"Please, you have to, you can't stay here. You can't. As much as you want to, you can't. Just answer me, what did we do after we got married? Tell me."
More images came and I could feel the changing. I wanted to keep quiet and not answer him, but his pleading eyes made me answer.
"We bought an apartment down on Maple Avenue. I got a job teaching and you became a freelance writer. We were poor and barely got by, but we were rich in love and it didn't matter to us because no matter what, we had each other," I sobbed not wanting to go further just knowing the painful memories were going to come, "Please, I don't want to do this Brandon, please, I don't want to go on. I get it now, this place we're in, this train, this is heaven, and we're dead."
"This isn't heaven and you're not dead, at least, not yet."
I sobbed even more once he said that, the fact that he didn't speak for himself, and realizing just what that meant.
"Oh god! No, no! You're dead, please, god no!" The look on his face told me I was right, causing me to cry harder in agony suddenly out if breath, "No, you can't be, no." My shoulders were shaking.
"But you're not, you're not dead," He repeated.
"If you're dead, I'm dead!" I said hoarsely.
"Don't say that! You're being selfish. You have to remember, you have to move on."
"Not without you! I can't without you. Can't we stay like this, together?"
"Some things aren't meant to be."
"I'm not leaving; I'm staying here with you!"
"As soon as you remember, you'll want to move on. As soon as you remember the reason you have to live on," he said, rubbing my back with his hand trying to comfort me.
"I don't want to remember, Brand, I want to stay, please, let me stay," I pleaded.
"Remember for me." He noticed me suddenly still looking at the ground. "What is it?"
"This is our last time together, our last moment. Isn't it?"
He was silent before speaking again, "I've known that for awhile now. This is our last time in the same place, before long our places in life will separate us, I'll be dead and you'll be alive."
"Let me guess, you're going to tell me next that we'll be reunited again," I said bitterly.
He took his hand and lifted my chin up to get me to look at him, "I'm not sure if we'll be reunited, but I know this, you have to live."
"I don't want to now, we can still be together. This doesn't have to be our last moment. We can be together forever."
"Just remember the rest of your life and we'll see."
"If I'll remember, will I be able to stay?" I asked, knowing that no matter what I have to stay and there was nothing that could make me chose otherwise.
"You're already able to stay but I won't let you till you remember."
"So I guess that's a deal then, if I remember you'll let me stay."
"Just remember," he ignored me.
"Fine I will. Ask me about some place or some time, I can't remember alone."
"What happened after our fifth year anniversary?"
"Five years, you're skipping five years in my life?"
"You already remember them," He motioned to the window at my reflection.
I looked and saw I was older and different looking again, "So I do," I chuckled, but my laughter soon ended as more flashbacks came. My last year came at me like flashes of lightning, each violent flash revealing one event after another.
I gasped and Brandon came and embraced me, "You don't have to relive it alone, I'm here. Tell me what do you see?"
I tried to speak as I saw both of us in a car laughing and talking, Brandon not paying attention to the road, "We're driving," I managed to say, "you're not looking at the road, you're looking at me and—"
"You too far ahead, you're skipping ahead, why were we happy? What happened exactly after our anniversary months before this?" He yelled, trying to over shout the loud memories.
I saw it, I saw why. I saw it written all over the image of me in the car that brought me back to our anniversary to where we found out. This was indeed our last moment together for I saw why I couldn't stay here…
"I'm pregnant," I said quietly looking down at my now big stomach, and seeing the flashes of the car crashing. I covered my ears and closed my eye trying to block it out, but it was useless.
"Were you really that excited finding we're having a boy that you couldn't pay attention to the road?!" I was suddenly angry at his carelessness that caused this.
"Don't get mad, it's not like I intended for this to happen, it just did. Yes, it was my mistake, but I didn't ask for this!"
"Okay, I get it, I'm sorry, it's dumb to spend our last minutes together arguing over something that cannot be changed. So why are we here?"
"You're on life support, coma, of course. I have to get you to remember before the train stops, before it's too take and you're dead, which you're not, not yet."
"He's fine for now."
I didn't know whether to be thankful the baby was safe or be mad for Brandon not surviving. It's like I had to choose one or the other. Die and be with Brandon forever or live and give my son life. It was Brandon or my son. I knew, as Brandon did, which one I had to choose, no matter what.
"Hey, you remember that one Sunday, when we were on this very train we decided to skip school and explore the city?" He changed the subject and was oddly his cheerful self. Well fake cheerful, for I saw he was trying hard to be.
"Yeah, only to have our plans ruined when this train broke down and we were stuck here for hours." I played along, trying to forget that, and live in the past ignoring the future, with him, just one last time.
"But our day wasn't ruined," he pointed.
"It wasn't, it some light, it was a lot like this, we talked and never realized that the train was stuck for hours because time flew when we were together, it always did that was why our fifth anniversary was a shock to us because it just didn't feel we were together for that long and the news our my pregnancy was just another shock that night," I laughed.
"I still can't believe that I was the last person you told, I mean, the whole world knew before me."
"You still have a grudge about that? I eventually told you, didn't I?"
I started to weep at his familiar sarcasm, suddenly reminded of the word last.
"What is it?" He kissed me.
"I can't do this alone," I cried breaking away, now realizing how unprepared for this I was.
"You won't be alone," he said looking down at my stomach reminding me.
"You won't be there."
"Remember our precious moments together and I will."
"That doesn't help, Brandon. I'm not the kind of person who easily gets healed by a Hallmark card quote."
"You never told me your name," he changed the subject, "The book just needs your name and it's filled."
I didn't want to tell him, thinking that would buy us more time together, "What happens when I do tell you?"
I knew what he was trying to do. He knew I wouldn't leave him so easily and wanted to trick me into it. Like ripping the band-aid off without warning will give someone less pain.
"You'll be home."
"It won't be home without you," I said stubbornly.
"You'll say your name and live on. You'll be strong, I know you will, you can do this without me. Time is running out, please, for Alex."
He was going to try to do another thing. "We agreed on Christopher."
"Not this again, we don't have time for this argument."
"Okay, but just don't think for a moment, you being dead is going to get me to name him Alex. I love you but I hate the name Alex."
"Fine, name him after my bully in junior high," He kissed me again and hugged me tight as he whispered, "What is your name?"
"I'll name your son after you then." I ignored him, forgoing our separation.
"I really don't care what you name him-for the record though, no trendy names that'll get him beat up- All I care is that he knows of me, he won't remember or know me in person, I accept that, but what I could have is for him to know who I am."
"Of course, you didn't have to ask, you know me."
"I won't hate you if you re-marry—"
"Oh god, I would never—"
"I'm just putting it out there so if you do, you won't feel guilty when you do," he explained.
I couldn't imagine some as far-fetched as me marrying someone else.
"Anything else, I know you have a million other things you want for your son, tell me."
"I do, but you know them," he smirked, "Nice try, though."
"What? I wasn't trying to keep you, I really don't know!"
"Trust me, you do."
"No I don't."
"What is your name?" He asked. He wanted what I wanted, but he was holding back doing what was right.
"If you love me, you'll answer."
Why? Why did he have t resort to that? Did he have to make leaving him forever a test of my love for him? Yes, he did. "My name is Amber," I said, closing my eyes as another tear rolled down my cheek as I try my hardest to forever remember his embrace."I love you, don't forget that," were the last words I heard him speak.