I was 11 years old. It was summer vacation, the schools were closed. I talked my parents into letting me stay with my brother for a week. My brother lived 80 miles from my parents house and I had to take the bus and train to get there. I always liked traveling by myself, it was my favorite way to spend my life. For hours, I could sit in the bus or train and watch the landscape go by.
So, I packed my travel bag and took the money I saved from my allowance. My mom and dad gave me some additional money for the travel expenses. I said bye to both of them and walked to the bus stop to start my journey. It was an early afternoon on a sunny summer day.
The bus brought me to the train station where I bought myself a snack and a one-way train ticket. I felt happy and I smiled. I hopped on the train that arrived a few minutes late but that would bring me to my destination. I found myself a seat on a bench opposite of an elderly couple. They looked far older than 60, having wrinkles all over their faces. But the couple looked nice and they smiled at me while I sat down. I greeted them back by saying hello. Before the train left, a man sat down on the empty seat next to me. He smiled to all of us.
The conductor blew the whistle, the doors were closing, and the train got in motion. I sat at the seat closest to the window and was looking outside. Slowly but steadily the train picked up speed, and I saw the houses that were build near the track go by faster and faster.
Suddenly, I felt a hand on my leg. I moved a little more towards the window as it may have been by accident. But the hand reappears, and the hand start rubbing my leg. I look at the elderly couple, scared and confused. They smile back at me. Didn’t they see this? The man keeps his hand moving up and down my leg, slowly but visible. I look again at the couple. They for sure saw what just occurred. But they just smiled…
I decided to get up and walk down the aisle to find me a different seat. But I realize my travel bag is still with the couple and the man. So I walk back and sat back down. But as soon as I did, I felt his hand on my leg again. Seeing the smile on the elderly couples faces, I picked up my travel bag and walked away. I decided to hide in a lavatory. I thought to wait till the conductor knocks on the door when he checks for tickets and then I would be safe. I waited awhile, but no one knocks. I heard no other noises than the train running on it’s tracks. So I told myself, I was just going to find myself another open seat and continue the travel.
I flushed the toilet, like I even had used it and then opened the door. I see the man standing there, smiling at me. I smiled back but start walking to the right of him. While I try to walk away, and not looking at his face, I feel his eyes following me, and I feel his smile. He blocks my path, and softly pushes me back into the lavatory. He closes the door and he takes my hand. He smiles. He opens his zipper and he guides my hand rubbing him. I feel his eyes looking at me, and his face showing a smile.
I notice that the train lowers speed, we are getting closer to the next station. He closes his zipper and smiles at me. The train stopped. He opens the lavatory door and leaves the train. I watch him exiting the train, calmly walking down the platform. He turns around and he smiles at me.
I went back to the bench with the elderly couple. They looked at me, smiled at me. I didn’t smile back.
I often turn around, look over my shoulder, but I seldom smile.