Waiting Room (Friday Fictioneers, August 2013)

Copyright Dawn M Miller

This week’s Friday Fictioneers photo shows Union Station, Washington.  I’m almost certain I’ve been here, in the late nineties when we took a trip from Philadelphia to Washington.  Rochelle says it’s now preserved as a museum.  Would it have been a functioning station then?  I remember being overwhelmed by the sheer magnificence of the architecture.  In the weeks before our visit I’d had my first article published by the Financial Times, and when I saw the familiar pink pages of the paper on sale on the news stands I felt an incredible flush of pride that my words should be read so far away and in such prestigious surroundings.  Silly I know.  🙂

Keys turn, security codes bleep and the hall settles into its reverie.

Hours pass, and then slowly approaching, getting louder … the rhythmic clatter of metal on tracks, the hiss of steam followed by squealing brakes and slamming doors.

Shadows emerge from the walls of the museum, footsteps ring out across marble floors.  The wraiths gather in groups, embracing in either rapturous greeting or distraught farewell.

The bag-lady rises from her hiding place, and for hours limps amongst the crowds, scanning faces, muttering a name.

But when the sun’s rays reveal dancing dust-motes, she acknowledges defeat.

Tomorrow, surely, she thinks…

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About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
This entry was posted in Friday Fictioneers, Just Sayin' and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

69 Responses to Waiting Room (Friday Fictioneers, August 2013)

  1. Dear Sandra,

    Once more you’ve taught me a word…wraith. Perhaps I just have a limited vocabulary. 😉 At any rate, your story’s well written and I want to know who the bag lady is searching for. .

    A note: I don’t know much about Washington’s Union Station. I only know that Kansas City’s Union Station has been turned into a museum.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Ah, I mis-read your introduction to the photo Rochelle, my mistake. Thanks for commenting, and no charge for word introductions – I’m a mine of obscure references 😉

      Like

  2. misskzebra says:

    The language in this piece is gorgeous, visually delicious, I’d say.

    Like

  3. Ye Pirate says:

    You really got inside the head of your character there…careful!

    Like

  4. dmmacilroy says:

    Dear Sandra,

    This is a story I got lost in, despite it only being a hundred words. This is a testament to your writing. You create worlds within worlds, all from a photograph an idea and imagination. The time between locks serves you well.

    Aloha,

    Doug

    Like

  5. kz says:

    beautifully written. lovely language 🙂

    Like

  6. yarnspinnerr says:

    Awesome writing and what a take on the prompt. Excellent.

    Like

  7. Joe Owens says:

    A slice of life we who do not frequent such places would likely never see. Thanks for expanding the vocabulary Sandra.

    Like

  8. I had to read this through a couple of times to make sure I understood what was going on (it’s so easy to scan through, especially with short little stories like these). This was very intriguing, if a bit sad. Very well written.

    Like

  9. paulmclem says:

    Got to be honest and say I don’t quite get the ending, but the lingo is tres lush i.e. it sounds great!

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Sorry it didn’t work for you Paul; in a nutshell, she’s a bag lady hiding out in an old station that’s now a museum (per Rochelle’s note with her story) and she’s searching amongst the ghosts that come out each night for her young man who went off to war and didn’t come back. Thanks for reading and commenting though. 😉

      Like

  10. vbholmes says:

    Having been in a train station in the wee hours, it’s easy to imagine the presence of your wraiths. Very well said, Sandra.

    Like

  11. Sandra, first let me says thanks for stopping by Words are Timeless and your nice comment. I’m glad you like the story. I’ll probably expand on it. Love the way you weaved your words around the picture.

    Like

  12. Fantastic, as usual. The bag lady was an inspiration – I mean to your writing.

    Like

  13. helenmidgley says:

    I loved the descriptive element of this 🙂

    Like

  14. zookyworld says:

    A sad sketch of this bag-lady, a sad character to look among wraiths for someone. I really liked your language here, especially of the “dancing dust-motes.” I could easily imagine those.

    Also, thanks for sharing your memory note of being in Union Station. The place is still a working train station for Amtrak, so many folks take the train from there to Philly, New York, Boston, etc. It’s also a local Metro train stop and has many retail stores. The architecture is indeed magnificent, as you mentioned.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      I misunderstood Rochelle’s note with her submission and assumed that Union Station had been changed into a museum. I’m glad it’s still operational, I was totally stunned by it, and if I remember correctly I had a drink at a bar just before the station as you approach from the left before catching the Amtrak back to Philly. Great memories. Thanks for commenting.

      Like

  15. Tom Poet says:

    Ahhh sweet writings from Clare…I have missed your stories. A great job as always.
    Tom

    Like

  16. claudia says:

    Certainly the bag lady’s story would be wonderful to hear…as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story!

    Like

  17. Plenty of bag ladies at the operating Union Station in DC, I assure you. And the way you describe the footprints and the other details could easily fir here. In fact I think I saw her when I was there.

    Like

  18. erinleary says:

    Financial Times? Not Silly at all!

    I liked your story – very ethereal and mysterious, capturing the vastness of the place well.

    Like

  19. JackieP says:

    Makes me want to know her story and who she forever seeks. Now that is something with a hook. Wish it was longer. 🙂

    Like

  20. Adam Ickes says:

    I found myself wondering who she was looking for. Found the answer in your reply to Paul. Nicely done, Sandra.

    Like

  21. I like the word (wraiths) and I like the story. Museum or functioning train station (as it is), I can well imagine the bag lady moving among the regal surroundings of Union Station in her sadly un-regal life.

    Like

  22. jwdwrites says:

    Poor lady, I hope she finds who she’s looking for amongst all those ghosts. For some reason WordPress doesn’t like the word amongst. Can anyone tell me what is wrong with it? Great story Sandra. 🙂

    Like

  23. Wonderfully descriptive and emotive!

    Like

  24. Honie Briggs says:

    Another word for wraith from southern U.S. colloquial is haint. Sherwin-Williams actually has a paint color called Haint Blue, which southerns use to paint the ceilings of their porches to deter spirits…and wasps. Just thought I’d throw that into the mix. Nicely told Sandra. I especially liked the vocabulary lesson, and the longing of the big lady was very real.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks for that bit of info Honie. I’ve never heard of ‘haint’ before. In fact I didn’t know ‘wraith’ was so obscure – it’s one that’s been in my vocabulary for ever. 🙂 Funny how some words stick with you.

      Like

  25. Carrie says:

    I feel so sorry for that poor woman. I hope she finds who she is looking for so she can finally get some peace.

    Like

  26. Linda Vernon says:

    That’s so sad and nicely written. I think there’s a lady wandering around like her in every town, either at a train station or a bus station.

    Like

  27. I could have sworn I commented on this last night… Anyhow, wonderful story, Sandra. I love the whole concept, and you’ve executed it beautifully. I’d love to read more!

    Like

  28. unspywriter says:

    I’m quite familiar with Union Station because I worked near there for many years. It has been a functioning train station for most of the years since it opened in 1908 or ’09. Your story actually captures an old story about the station–the main hall is “looked over” by statues and there are stories about the statues dancing at night! Great imagery in your story.

    Here’s mine: http://unexpectedpaths.com/friday-fictioneers/good-service/

    Like

  29. Hi Sandra,
    I never think it’s silly to feel pride and elation over having something published. As to your story, it a crafty written reminiscence filled with vivid images. Ron

    Like

  30. JKBradley says:

    For whom does she search and for how long? Will she wait forever? Might he return in a uniform?

    Nice piece. Thank you for sharing.

    Like

  31. rgayer55 says:

    regarding your intro; I don’t think there’s anything silly about feeling a touch of pride seeing your written words in prestigious surroundings. I was looking at David Sedaris’ new book in an airport one day and wondered how it must feel to walk through a place like that and see your book on display.
    This story was an outstanding piece (as usual). I could just visualize the ghosts of generations past mingling and the woman looking for her loved one.

    Like

    • Sandra says:

      Thanks Roger. It was one of my first acceptances – nothing has ever equalled that pleasure. In fact no other achievement has equalled it – I guess I peaked early. 😉

      Like

  32. nightlake says:

    The character of the bag lady touches the chord..It is sad that she would probably never find what she is looking for. and wonderful descriptions in the story.

    Like

  33. Ah very nice… I think we saw similar things in the picture… that emptiness can be filled by wraiths and dreams

    Like

  34. Full of atmosphere and a great story somewhere there. Who is she waiting for? Will they ever arrive.

    Like

  35. Joyce says:

    At least she still hopes to find him there, one day. (I had to read through it a couple of times, too). Great story.

    Like

  36. Sarah Ann says:

    Eerie and beautiful. I could see all the characters emerging from the walls.

    Like

  37. Dee says:

    This is so good. Great sense of place, you put me right there in the station. Loved it
    Dee

    Like

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