Well trained

trainblurrThe 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. trainfarmFor 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.



Union Station, Toronto, Canada

Dripping in petals, Harry emerged from the tub. Lady Smock laughed. They ate the puttanesca and went to bed clean.


9 thoughts on “Well trained

  1. A story of homecoming,,, what a wonderful way to mark the new blog home of Harry and Lady Smock. Love the new look, Susanne, and how nice that you gave the pair their own home…looks like they’re here to stay for a while and surprise us with their antics…and for that, i’m glad.

    • I love the new look too. It still needs some tinkering and it’s a great distraction from actually writing! “Slyly steamy” – I like it!

  2. Masterful, Sue, for what is not said, as well as for the choice of details to evoke sense impressions and character….What to think about a man who plants salvia in a heart-shaped garden bed? What about pasta puttanesca, and all it brings to mind of bordello atmosphere? What items are MISSING from the lady’s train case? Very nicely done!

    • I was on the train coming home from Toronto when I thought of dear Lady Smock running away from bad ol’ Harry. Harry’s doing his darndest to fire up the love again. He’s hard to stay mad at. Thanks, for your thoughts, Cynthia. You’re very encouraging!

    • Even just thinking about taking a train across this vast dominion is bound to inspire poetry. Thank you, Derrick.

"The river flows both ways." (Margaret Laurence)

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