A Flute Player's Story

Train Rides and The Past

I slipped outside in the dead of night, just like I had not so many months ago. Castel and I had agreed on a meeting place just in case we were found. We had taken many walks through Manhattan and Brooklyn and agreed on a spot halfway across the Brooklyn Bridge. I walked the path silently, only holding my flute and whatever clothes I could fit into one small bag. I had kept my bag ready for this moment, always expecting to be caught.

"Psst, Lenmana! Over here!" I followed the sound of Castel's whispering to a bench. He was crouched behind it, his own bag slung across his shoulders. "Are you ready?"

We ran straight to the train yards and got on the first train going to Arizona. Our plan was to find Mama's family and see if we could stay with them for a time. After that, we would set out on our own and make a life for ourselves. I didn't really think about what would happen if Mama's family said no or if something failed. Castel said he only planned on succeeding and I should too.

"It's easier for you," I complained as we stowed our bags and sat down. "At least you can read. And Maggie had no trouble teaching you English. I'll never be able to get anywhere without that."

Castel took my hand and held it. "You will get somewhere. You will get anywhere you set your mind to. Yo creo en ti. You just need to believe in yourself."

"Easy for you to say," I muttered, looking out the window. A single tear slipped down my cheek.

"What is that tear for?" asked Castel, wiping it away with his thumb.

"I hate this! I hate all of it!" I burst out. "We're on a train in the middle of the night, running away from everything we knew and all because I didn't want to go to school. I hate it."

Castel looked surprised. He stared out the window for a long time before answering. "What are you going to miss the most?"

"Everything. I finally felt like things were going right. I was playing in a real band and I didn't have to worry about being teased because I can't read as well as everyone else. It was better because I had Race and Maggie and you and Tajo to share it with. I'm going to miss everyone."

"You mean Race, don't you?" Castel teased, poking me in the ribs.

"Of course. He's part of everyone, is he not? Besides, you're one to talk. You're going to miss Maggie most, are you not?" Castel blushed as he took another jab at my ribs. We both laughed, knowing we would always have each other, no matter where we ended up.

"Are we's almost done? Ise am starvin and Ise lost feeling in my arms bout an hour ago."

I mentally groaned at the sound of my former girlfriend's voice. Robin had been one of my birds a few years back, before something had happened to her family and she had to make a run for it. Her parents had been a pair of pickpockets that taught their only daughter how to steal as soon as she could walk. My cousin Nevan had shown up one day with Robin in tow and asked if I could let them stay for a few days. Of course, I couldn't say no to them and a few days turned into months. It was now almost Thanksgiving and they still hadn't left.

"No. Ise need ta make one more stop. Den we can get some food." I planned to stop by Maggie's and see if she and Ally wouldn't mind having Robin stay over for a few days. I figured they could get a nice break from the kids and Robin would like to have some female company for a change.

"Torin Conlon, we's are goin ta stop and we's are gonna do it now!"

"Now Ise remember why we's stopped dating," I muttered to myself. Robin could be very demanding when she wanted. She somehow always got her way. Out loud to Robin, I said "No. We's need ta make one more stop 'fore it gets too dark."

"Where do youse need ta go? Youse get a new goirl or somethin?"

"Or somethin," I muttered. It would have been more than something if Robin and Nevan hadn't shown up when they did. As it was, I just figured Race had made his move and that was why Allegra didn't come visit so much. Thinking back on it, I realized I hadn't seen or heard from her or Rooster in several days. Tajo was staying in 'Hattan most of the time now, so I didn't have a clue about what was going on anymore. Just then I saw Race walking past, looking like his best friend had died. "Racetrack!" He walked over, his shoulders slumped. He lifted his head in greeting but didn't say anything. "Youse been by Maggie's lately?" All that got me was another nod. "Youse think she'd mind takin in another guest?"


"Wassa matter wit you?"

"Ally left."

I stared in shock. "She left?"

"Just up and left in da middle of da night. No note or nothin."

No wonder he looked so sad. I was startled to say the least. "Nobody knows anything?"

"I knows why dey left. Her papa hired Snyder ta find dem, so she took off wit her brudder in da middle of da night last night."

"Sorry ta break dis up, but we's need ta go," Robin told Race. She tried to grab my arm and pull me away, but this time I refused to give in.

"Dat's my friend we're talkin about. We's ain't goin anywhere till Ise finish talkin."

"Nothin ta say. She didn't care ta stay. Fine della storia. Finito." He glanced up at the clouds that were threatening rain. "Ise gotta go. Good luck wit her." He raised an eyebrow in Robin's direction and left.

"Ain't he cheerful?" Robin joked. "Where'dja find him?"

"Can't youse eva be nice?" I snarled, getting tired of her comments. "Dat goirl dat ran off, she's a good friend."

"Ise can see dat," she muttered sarcastically. "Dey must be good friends. Say, speakin of friends, did youse eva find another goirl afta Ise left?"

"Come on, we's gotta go." I was not about to tell Robin about Ally. If Robin wanted to hear about that, she was going to need to eat something first.

"Can youse please let her stay?" I begged Maggie. I lowered my voice and glanced at Robin, who was busy looking around Maggie's place. "Ise need a break from her."

"I suppose I can take her for a few days. It would be nice to have somebody to help around the house a bit. I assume Race told you about Ally?"

I nodded. "He upset by it?"

"You could say that. I just hope he doesn't do something stupid because of it."

"Youse got any food?" Robin called, walking into the kitchen. "Ise want ta hear 'bout this Ally goirl youse all keep talkin 'bout." She opened the cupboards and started looking for good. Maggie glared at her as I sighed and ran a hand through my hair. This was going to be a long few months.

Yo creo en ti-I believe in you (Spanish)

Fine della storia. Finito.-End of story. Finished. (Italian)

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