The train’s speed terrified her. Nothing held its shape. Horizontal lines of green and white and brown smeared the window. She took off her glasses to make the real word disappear but nausea overwhelmed her.
Harry planted tomato seedlings in containers because there was no space left in the garden. He’d arranged beds of red salvia in two hearts in the patch in front of the gatehouse where the tomatoes were traditionally planted. Lady Smock would see the hearts when she came home.
Inside, the kitchen window valance was repaired at last, the rocking toilet replaced, and the ingredients for spaghetti alla puttanesca at the ready. A harvest of wild rose petals sat in a pickling jar on the edge of the tub so he could drizzle them in a freshly drawn bath the moment he saw her taxi pull into the archway of the gatehouse.
Clean panties, face creams (day and night formulations), lipstick, comb, toothpaste and toothbrush were the contents of her train case for two weeks of travel from Halifax to Vancouver to Toronto. For two weeks she’d listened to the train whistle keen behind her. She felt the pulse of the engine push between rocks and trees and rocks and trees and rocks and trees of northern Ontario; blinked in shock as it cut through blinding rapeseed – now non-commitally called canola – and raced like a hell-hound across the banquet table of the prairies. She held her breath as it pierced dauntless mountain peaks. At last, she reached the smug Pacific only to learn it was the Strait of Georgia. Tracking west and east, she was lost. And disappointed.
She saw lovers kiss on the beach of Lake Ontario somewhere near Toronto and it made her cry. She flew home.
Dripping in petals, Harry emerged from the tub. Lady Smock laughed. They ate the puttanesca and went to bed clean.