“By the Abandoned Tracks”–A Short Story for You

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Took this picture across from my work building, and this short story formulated in my head. So I wrote it because sometimes we need a little piece of romantic fluff to get through the day.

Everyday, she saw the abandoned railroad while she stared out the classroom window in an attempt to avoid the math problems strewn before her. It, the railroad, not the math problems, started at the sidewalk and ended on the back property line of the food plant. All of ten feet. Usually nothing but dirt and dry debris surrounded the tracks. Occasionally, graffiti art displayed itself overnight but was erased the next day.

Today, because of the recent rain, wild weeds and fresh grass covered the tracks in sporadic patches, like how the hair had grown on Uncle Bob after he’d tried an experimental anti hair loss cream on his bald scalp.

Poor Uncle Bob. The whole debacle had cost him an entire year’s worth of self-confidence, in which he’d hit a dry spell in his dating life as well.

No, she shook her head wildly, dislodging thoughts of Uncle Bob’s misfortune. She couldn’t allow herself to be sidetracked. Today was the day.

She nodded decisively, took up a pen, and scribbled one line on a piece of paper. Meet me by the tracks at 3. Then she folded the note and tapped the girl in front of her, motioning to pass the note to the boy two rows ahead. The moment his fingers grasped the slip of paper, he looked back at her questioningly.

She watched as he read the note, and he grinned at her. It was a dazzling smile as always, one that never failed to do funny things to her insides, but she did not return the smile. She couldn’t. She watched as his dark brown eyes narrowed, silently asking her if everything was all right. But that would just have to wait. She would tell him after school.

At ten minutes before three, the school bell rang. She sucked in a breath and marched towards the tracks. This was the place where it had started, and the place where she intended for it to end. Last year, the boy with eyes clear as ice had promised her things, made her fall for him. He’d even given her a locket, which she’d treasured. Until now.

She took it from around her neck, opened it one last time, then closed it with an angry snap. She was done with him. He’d caused nothing but heartbreak. Countless times, she’d waited by the tracks for him, and he’d always forget. He’d always make excuses. She’d forgiven him too many times, until that last time. She had let him borrow her umbrella earlier that day. He’d promised to meet her here, and they would walk home together, sharing the umbrella. But he’d never come. He’d abandoned her in the rain. And now she was going to abandon him. She dug a hole by the tracks and placed the locket in it. Covered it with dirt and stomped on it. There was no going back.

She looked at her watch. Three o’clock. She saw him walking towards her. The boy with the eyes that reminded her of chocolate. Rich and warm.

“Are you all right?” The first words that came from his lips. His concern for her was breathtaking.

“Just burying some old hatchets,” she said. “I want to talk to you.”

His eyes became guarded, and she was sad because she knew she was the reason for it. “Listen, about the other day, I shouldn’t have…I just…” He stopped. “I would rather have you as a friend than not have you in my life at all.”

And she smiled. Because she knew she’d been stupid. That night she’d been abandoned in the rain, it was this boy who had seen her crying. It was he who took her home under his umbrella. It was he who had warned her against the boy with the ice blue eyes in the first place, he who had encouraged her to move on.

And it was he who had finally confessed that he was in love with her. But it had taken her some time to realize who he was to her. He had always just been there. She’d always taken him for granted.

But she knew now. He was a loyal friend who would never abandon her.

“I’m here to make a confession,” she declared. “I love you too.”

And she walked away from the abandoned tracks and into his arms. Into the future where they would lay new tracks and build new memories together.

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