When Shaggy Hair Boy and I boarded the train in Snowstorm City, we heeded my father’s advice and sat on the starboard side so that we could see the river. Through our window, we looked at the little towns, the marinas along the river, and the graffiti under the bridges. I can’t read on a train because it will make me motion sick, but I love watching the scenes that roll by outside my window. Most of the little towns were still decorated for Christmas, and the river wasn’t frozen yet.
Luckily, we had obeyed the most important rule of train travel, which is to bring good snacks. Whenever I’m on a train, people around me are always opening sandwiches wrapped in wax paper, or munching potato chips from crinkly bags, and just those noises make me salivate. I’d gotten up early that morning to pack sandwiches, cookies, fruit, and potato chips. I don’t normally eat potato chips, but on a train, it’s important to eat food that comes in noisy package so that everyone around you will be jealous.
We couldn’t help but listen to the conversation of the young woman sitting behind us, who kept talking very excitedly to the young man in the seat next to her. Shaggy Hair Boy rolled his eyes every time the young woman said something weird, which was pretty often. I kept trying to figure out their relationship. At first, I thought she was flirting with someone she just happened to sit next to. Then I decided that they were friends, traveling together. By the end of the trip, I concluded that he must be a cousin. I think if they weren’t related, he would have moved his seat.