When One Door Closes


"Last call for train 438 to New York City!" came the call through the intercom system. Haley snapped her cell phone closed, grabbed the handle of her pull along suitcase and hurried to the platform.

She shivered when her eyes, roaming around the train station, saw the back of a familiar head. The head, the name, the existence of the person had haunted her when she'd made the decision to travel back to New York-the place she'd seen him last. The place where her dreams had been made, and in turn had fallen apart.

Haley forced herself not to dwell and began walking quickly along the marble floor from the first class lounge. She smiled falsely at the attendant who carried her bag over the short staircase up to the train, and placed it on the rack for her. She gripped her carry on bag harder, already desiring that the three day trip would be over so she could be back in New York with all she'd grown accustomed to.

She dropped down into the wide, comfortable window seat and stared out into the bustling station. The second-class passengers hurried into the train, not helped by helpful attendants. She was served coffee while she waited for the train to move, and rearranged her blonde hair to cover her well-known face.

Haley was already regretting her decision not to fly because of her fear of airplanes. She'd be stuck there for days, in the same chair, in the rocking train, drinking bad coffee.

Depressed by the view through the window, she reached into her bag and pulled out a paperback book, which she began to read while the passengers steamed into the first class car, glancing at her while they passed and glancing away while they didn't recognize her. She forced herself to get immersed in the murder mystery she was reading, so different from her life which had become unexpectedly so mundane.

Haley looked up when she noticed the a presence standing stock still in the corner of her eye. She turned her head ninety degrees, praying that her assumption had been incorrect.

White, high top sneakers were topped by a pair of worn, comfortable looking blue jeans. A white wife beater, topped by an unbuttoned dark blue dress shirt surrounded a body as familiar as her own, one she hadn't seen in years.

He stared back, taking in her highlighted blonde hair, the pink gloss on her lips, the light mascara on her eyelashes, the cover up under her eyes, hiding the dark shadows that had become a permanent part of her. The small jean jacket that was over top a tank top that skimmed low over her breasts. Her perfectly manicured nails, her demurely crossed legs. All in all, a completely different person than the one he remembered her as.

"Haley," he said at last, curtly and completely detached. She forced herself not to gasp at his all-grown-up voice, his serious face.

He stared a moment longer at her, hoping she'd drop some polite greeting, make the silence, or the presence, bearable. She couldn't manage it. She could only mange one word: