Homeward Bound – Sort Of

Train in motion“Jeffery, look.” Donna’s voice broke my deep concentration, so deep it was like awaking from an afternoon nap. She pointed out the window. “The Alps.”

I moved my head that direction. The day was slightly overcast and the silvery rivers snaked through dark green banks. A cloudy snow lined peak stood out beyond the tree packed hills.


She shook her head. The view looked like a dozen I’d seen in my life and didn’t seem worthy of interrupting my zone-out session. My common sense suddenly took over and I found my manners. “Wow, that’s pretty.”

There must have been some sincerity in my effort, because she smiled. In all truth, the view was nice to see. After so many years living in the sun drenched desert of southern California, I find comfort in returning to places where rainfall is common. Germany reminded me of my Pacific Northwest and my thoughts kept taking me back to those old stomping grounds. I’d been inside my head during the past few days and my CPU was working overtime. The first part of this trip had moved fast and much happened. Now it was settling in.

I found myself questioning things I’d been holding close to me – accumulated for one reason or another, valued and retained without recent appraisal. Suddenly many of these “values” seemed worthless – like excess baggage that needed shedding. Others seemed worthy of additional analysis, and others seemed like they needed more attention than ever.  That German conductor snapping at me for my passport reminded me of a teacher getting on my ass for not doing my homework. I felt a strong need to roll up my sleeves and work rather than playing tourist.

My relationship with Alex stood at the forefront of all this. I really wanted to mend things with him and get back to the relationship we once had, yet working that out seemed as difficult as solving a quadratic equation. It was hard for me to think about those early days – when he was little and adored me. Things were so much easier then. Now it was complicated beyond – dare I say – hope?

* * *

Our train pulled into the Hamm station and I lifted my tired body from my seat and stood up to grab my pack which seemed heavier than ever. As I buckled the straps, I glanced out the window and saw something that lightened my mood. It was like a ray of golden sunshine – smiling, familiar faces.

NEXT: Eva’s Germany


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