10,000 Miles Straight Ahead
My sister Olivia left to ride the rails when she was sixteen. She only told me, but I was 10 and scared. I tattled.
Olivia came back three years, 22,400 miles, and an entire lifetime later. She had the best stories. Mom was furious. Dad wiped away a tear and hugged her.
“Stay around,” I said. “For me?”
She nodded, but two weeks later I found the note by my bed.
“That’s who she is,” Dad said.
“Will she ever change?”
“She’s like a train,” he said. “10,000 miles straight ahead, but not an inch left or right.”
February 25th, 2015 at 2:34 pm
Ooo. Very nice.
February 25th, 2015 at 7:59 pm
February 25th, 2015 at 3:07 pm
I hope she finds what she’s looking for.
February 25th, 2015 at 8:00 pm
I’m not sure she’s looking for anything. It might just be an incorrigible wanderlust.
February 25th, 2015 at 3:38 pm
A normal life isn’t for everyone. I’m glad the dad understands her though.
Well done 🙂
February 25th, 2015 at 8:01 pm
Thanks, Rachel. People just have to be themselves.
February 25th, 2015 at 3:38 pm
Great story, David. The voice of the younger sibling is so clear here. I feel as if I know your narrator already, and that narrator has also shown me many reasons to love Olivia–right through those 10,000 miles.
All my best,
February 25th, 2015 at 8:03 pm
Thanks, Marie Gail. I appreciate it. I got this idea from a story about trains and I realized that trains are totally free straight ahead, but total prisoners side to side. It seemed like a good metaphor for a person, locked into their own destiny.
February 25th, 2015 at 6:23 pm
I really enjoyed this, Dave. That expression is a good one – I haven’t heard it before, but it’s a great description for some people!
February 25th, 2015 at 8:04 pm
Thanks, Erin. Indeed, it fits. Free in one way, but totally unable to change in others.
February 26th, 2015 at 3:29 am
It’s all about the journey, I guess. Good job on this David.
February 26th, 2015 at 4:16 am
A priceless picture…I love trains…would rather travel on one than a plane or car. The image of all the miles ahead made me sigh. We all have miles in front of us. I wish you’d compile all your FF for a book. They are tiny, gems.
February 26th, 2015 at 6:55 am
Thank you so much, Susannah. Maybe I will sometime, when I get time
February 26th, 2015 at 7:07 am
We have to make time for what we love 🙂
February 26th, 2015 at 7:20 am
Very much a free spirit touched by wanderlust. Dad seems to understand.
February 26th, 2015 at 7:47 am
I relate to this… I’m a born wanderer and fear my feet growing roots. That last line was succinct.
February 26th, 2015 at 9:35 am
I know such persons.
February 26th, 2015 at 6:19 pm
Great – particularly that last line from the dad, brought the story to a proper close.
February 26th, 2015 at 6:20 pm
Thanks, KT. Yeah, I like that line too.
February 26th, 2015 at 6:37 pm
A heart of wanderlust. I feel sorry for the brother who undoubtedly will miss her most.
February 27th, 2015 at 8:12 pm
Yeah, I feel bad for him too, especially since he is young. My sisters could understand since I lived in Korea for 9 years, although they were adults at least.
February 27th, 2015 at 9:44 am
What is she looking for?
February 27th, 2015 at 8:10 pm
I don’t know. I think she just can’t sit still. She lives for the trip.
February 27th, 2015 at 4:11 pm
Somehow I think dad wouldn’t mind leaving himself.. he seems to understand his daughter well.
February 27th, 2015 at 8:08 pm
That’s an interesting perspective; I hadn’t thought of that. But she has to get her wanderlust from somewhere, so it would make sense.
February 27th, 2015 at 8:48 pm
David, good use of the tracks in the prompt. Very tough on the family.
February 27th, 2015 at 9:25 pm
Wao! I really loved this, so much said in 100 words. Great job!
February 28th, 2015 at 11:36 am
February 27th, 2015 at 11:34 pm
So very sad, David. I hope she takes time out for her family, because you can’t get that time back. Nicely told story. Well done. I feel bad for the little sister.
February 28th, 2015 at 7:19 am
February 28th, 2015 at 11:31 am
Dad certainly understands Olivia, doesn’t he? ” three years, 22,400 miles, and an entire lifetime later”…what a great line. You crammed a whole story into that one.
I agree with Marie Gail, the little sister’s personality came through her narration. In fact, every one of the characters were clear and distinct with so little description. No wonder I look forward to your stories every week.
February 28th, 2015 at 5:07 pm
David, this is a gorgeous story! That final line is perfectly written and so moving. In only 100 words, you have brought the younger sister to life, told us the story of Olivia and painted a touching picture of her father as well… this is brilliant!
February 28th, 2015 at 6:48 pm
Thanks, Dawn. I appreciate your comments. I’m glad you liked it.
February 28th, 2015 at 11:52 pm
Very well-done story, great ending. Far more subtle than other riding the rails stories.
March 1st, 2015 at 7:55 pm
Thanks Perry. I hesitated from doing this sort of thing since it seemed the most obvious from looking at the picture. Glad you liked it though.
March 1st, 2015 at 1:28 am
well, everyone has but one destiny
March 1st, 2015 at 12:08 pm
Great story. People like that break my heart.
March 1st, 2015 at 7:56 pm
They’re the kind that just slip away, no matter how much you want them to stay. It’s a tragic sort of destiny, at least for those left behind. Thanks for the comment.
March 17th, 2015 at 1:52 am
that is an enviable girl!