Day 5: Train Ride

by Mary Beth

The next morning the family went for a hike around Martha’s Mine, which was a gold mine that had not been abandoned. Cora knew that they were going somewhere when she saw her mommy putting on socks. “SOCK!” she said. “SHOE! SHOE!” She ran over to the door and picked up one of her shoes, and then held it against her foot.

“You have to get socks first,” her mommy pointed out. Cora looked up, put down the shoe, and toddled off to her bedroom to get her socks.

Afterwards, Mommy and Daddy had planned a ride on the local steam train. They were very excited about this. They both remembered how excited Annie had been when she had been younger, and had gotten to go on a steam train. They could not wait to take the girls on the steam train ride. The ride was about a half hour, and went to the neighboring town, where you could eat lunch in the little station cafe and then ride back.

Annie entered into their excitement a little. She was excited about the cafe, because she heard there were pancakes.

When she got on the steam train, she went and sat down. She was not impressed with the train. It was, after all, a train. If she were being totally honest with her parents, she would have told them that she would rather have gone to a playground. She looked around, bored. What was she going to do with herself for this whole time?

Mommy found the answer. Annie’s boredom lifted in an instant. There was an old Disney Princess coloring book at the front of the train, with some old broken crayons! Princesses! Crayons! What could be better?

Then Mommy, who was a bit grumpy, went outside to the open-air car and took Cora with her. They were both much happier outside. Cora liked the feel of the wind in her hair, and she enjoyed pointing out the rocks and the wawa. There were a lot of rocks, and since the train ran alongside a river, there was plenty of opportunity to point out water, too. There were also some cows. “MUH,” said Cora, gesturing at them. Her mommy agreed that they were cows that said “Moo.” Cora grinned happily. She loved showing off her words. “WOK. WOK,” she commanded, and her mommy put her down. She toddled around the car, a little unsteady at times, but very proud to keep her balance without any help.

At the railway station cafe, Annie skimmed the foam off her parents’ cappuccinos as Cora watched.

“WAWA,” Cora demanded.

Her daddy gave her a water bottle. She shook her head and pushed it away. “WAWA. WAWA,” she repeated, irritated. He handed her a glass of water, and she pushed that away too. She reached out for the cappuccino. “WAWA!”

Her daddy gave her some foam. She smiled and gobbled it down, content at last. Then she ate as much food as she was given – eggs, toast, pancakes, tomatoes.

Annie scarfed down a plate of pancakes that were swimming in syrup.

On the way home on the train, Annie was feeling wound up and full of energy. She ran around the outdoor car, singing and dancing, climbing on things, standing on the benches; Cora followed her around and refused to allow anyone to hold her. Whenever Mommy or Daddy picked up Cora, she wiggled her arms and legs and arched her back so it was impossible to hold onto her. She was as slippery as a fish, and they had to put her down or she would have fallen. She would immediately run away, laughing.

Annie saw her Daddy looking at the family on the next bench over – a family with two boys, not much older than Annie and Cora. The two boys were sitting quietly on the bench, not making any noise. She saw him glance in the other direction, at another family with boys who were also about the same age as Annie and Cora; in that family, the mommy was calmly holding the baby, and the older brother was standing quietly next to her. Annie saw her Daddy do this. She looked at the two families as well. She watched them for a moment, and then ran around, singing, more exuberantly than ever.

She was holding the train tickets, and she fanned them out in her hand – they were yellow and pink and green. She offered them to her parents and Cora and then immediately snatched them back. Cora did not appreciate this and wept loudly. “MOE! MOE!” she said, reaching out for the tickets.

“Annie, you have to give one of them to your sister to play with,” said Mommy. “I don’t care which one, but you have to give her one, since you have four and she has none.”

But this wasn’t fair. Annie had had them first. They were her toys. Why should she share them? She needed all four of them. “No!” she shouted at her mommy.

“Annie, I’m going to count to five and you have to give her one or I’ll take one,” said Mommy. “One-”

“Noooo!” Annie shrieked, and burst into tears. She bent her body over the train bench, holding the tickets to her chest where her mommy would have the most trouble reaching them.

Daddy was muttering about wanting to deal with this later but no one paid any attention.

“Two – three – four – five!”

Annie screamed and stomped her feet. Other people on the train pretended not to notice her. Mommy made a valiant effort to try to get the tickets but was holding Cora and (as Annie knew in her heart would happen) was reluctant to make a huge scene. Daddy was even more reluctant to make a scene. “I guess I will give Cora a treat later to make up for it,” said Mommy resentfully. “Since she is so sad.”

Cora was playing with Mommy’s zipper and had forgotten the tickets.

“What treat?” asked Annie, looking up.

“I don’t know, I’ll have to think of something to make her feel better.”

“Will I get the treat?”

“No, it would be for Cora, since she didn’t get to play with the train tickets.”

Daddy was still muttering at Mommy to stop, but neither Annie nor Mommy was paying attention to him. Annie let out an anguished wail. Then she started screaming as loudly as she could. She threw her body around the train cart, stomping her feet and flailing her arms. Her mommy grabbed her arms and hissed at her that if she didn’t stop screaming by the count of five she wouldn’t get any more treats, ever, the rest of this trip. Mommy started to count to five again, but Annie ripped herself out of her mommy’s grasp, stopped screaming, and went to the other end of the car. She looked around and saw that people were looking at her but were pretending not to. She felt terribly embarrassed and her heart was still very upset. She gave a little sob and sucked her thumb and looked away from all the people.

Eventually she moved back towards her parents, trying to do it so they didn’t see her moving or notice her at all. She started to walk around her daddy, who said something friendly to her. She didn’t want to see him or hear him, so she made an angry snarling noise at him, because it was hard to find words when she was so upset. A few seconds later her mommy suggested gently that Annie sit next to her on the bench, but her mommy was the last person she wanted to talk to, so she made an even louder, angrier noise and her mommy looked away and didn’t speak to her again.

Eventually Annie came and sat down near them on the bench, still sobbing now and then and feeling very sorry for herself. Her parents ignored her. She wanted them to ignore her but she also kind of wanted them to give her hugs to make her feel better. But she was also very angry with them for making her make a scene like that.

Cora didn’t much care for all this subtlety. While Mommy and Annie were deliberately ignoring each other, she reached out, grabbed Annie’s head, and pulled her in tight for a hug. She held Annie’s head for a long, long, long time, without speaking or moving, her little arms only just reaching around her sister’s head. Annie sobbed a little but submitted to the hug. Finally Cora let her go, and then watched her for a few seconds. Annie wasn’t crying anymore, but she still didn’t look happy. Cora grabbed her by the neck and pulled her in for another hug. This one was a little shorter, but afterwards Cora gave her sister another appraising look, and Annie got a third hug. By the fourth hug, Annie was laughing, and Cora stopped hugging her and let her go, also laughing.

That evening, they went to the beach. Everyone had had a nap, and Annie and Mommy had had some alone time – they walked to the playground nearby, and swung on the big swing, and sang the song “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum” because they were pirates, and Annie was Captain Alice. They had had a heart-to-heart discussion, mostly revolving around the meaning of the word “scurvy” after Mommy had called Daddy a Scurvy Dog; Annie disagreed with the designation, arguing that since he had all his teeth and ate his fruit, he was not in fact a scurvy dog. She was not quite sure about Cora Rose, since Cora did not have that many teeth; so Mommy called Cora a scurvy dog and they sang “Yo Ho Ho and a Bottle of Rum” some more.

The beach was empty and beautiful. Annie took her shoes off, and Mommy took Cora’s shoes off. Cora then sat down and said “SHOE. SHOE. SHOE,” until her shoes were put back on. Then they all ran on the wet sand and dipped their toes into the waves. Annie and Mommy built sandcastles on the beach, which Cora knocked over. They found a tire swing hanging from a tree and Annie swung up high, high into the air. Annie found a shell that turned out to be a wedding ring, because it had a hole in it. She told her mommy that she had married Cora. “Everyone will see me wearing this ring and say ‘I don’t think that she could really be married, because she is a little girl!’” Annie said, laughing.

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