The train station bustled with throngs of people, making their way from their origins to the void of nowhere. History was in the making, and I couldn't have been happier to be in the thick of it all. The hiss of the train and the steam rising made loose hairs fly into my face. Thick and wavy as it was, it was hard to control. My red lips contorted up and to the right as I blew upward attempting unsuccessfully to blow my brunette hair out of my face.
My hands were occupied with luggage, and after weeks of travel, I'm sure I looked a sight. To the people who were moving back and forth in front of me I must of looked lost, confused, and worn. My eyes were dark and heavy from lack of sleep on the trip from my hometown of Freedom, Louisiana to here. A true lady, like I was expected to be, would have cared about how I looked departing from the train. The south placed an importance on those lady-like mannerisms, and if it hadn't been for the unladylike characteristics of my personality I wouldn't even be here in Silverton, Colorado.
As I moved further away from the crowds of people, the cool air invigorated me. My trek was far from over, but this place in all its wonder was a far bit different than the heat of Louisiana I had left behind. I could still hear my father's voice in the back of my head as he protested, trying to keep me from making this “terrible mistake.”
He hadn't known my true feelings, the true reason why I really left, and if I could help it, he never would. Its ironic that Freedom Louisiana had become the epitome of my troubles, surrounding me, suffocating my very existence, and running seemed like a far better option than staying and holding my head high, as my mother had encouraged me to do. As much as I loved them, and hated to say goodbye, facing it was too much.
Sighing loudly, I looked around for my old friend. William moved to Colorado years ago and had settled in nicely to his new life in the mountains. I had looked forward to having a familiar face around, but more importantly, he was my ride to Ouray, where my journey would finally end. In our correspondence we had enjoyed the notion of being able to spend some time together, and he had happily agreed to pick me up from the train station. I had tried, in vain, to imagine what Colorado would look, smell, ansd feel like. I will admit it, I like to be in control of my life, and being capable of picturing where I was going would have put me at ease. William had put in the details he felt important, but what I had hoped for I already knew I was accomplishing, a change.
I spotted him across the deck. Even after all these years not much changed and I found his familiarity more reaffirming and comforting than I originally suspected I would. He was taller, of course, but his smile still held true, his bright white teeth and his strong jawline created a truly beautiful man whom I felt privileged to know.
If we had not known each other from the time that we were two, maybe I would have considered him an acceptable husband. However, facts were facts, our love for each other would always be of the most innocent nature. He was the closest thing to a brother I have ever known.
Walking closer towards him it became apparent that his features had changed slightly. His shoulders had filled out nicely, giving him a strong build that was sturdy. From head to toe he seemed to be covered with dirt and his clothes were worn and faded.
I watched him for only a moment longer before crying out to him, “William!”
William searched the crowds for a moment and then, catching my eyes, his smile widened. He was a genuinely happy person. Even when he was a child he had preferred to be a glass half-full kind of individual which was refreshing after my family's reaction to my sudden move here. We pushed through the crowds of people towards each other and met in an embrace of familial love and admiration.
“Katherine, it’s so good to see you.”
“Its good to be seen after such a long trip. I am glad to finally see what you've been describing. William you didn’t do this place justice”. William smiled awkwardly.
“I know I’m sorry. Its been a long time since I corresponded with anyone with any great detail, I wasn’t quite sure what to say about it. I don’t get out to see the city, but the men I work with are good and the food is decent.”
I knew that William would have to head back up the mountain soon. He had to go back up to the mines, and was losing money while he stayed off the mountain helping me. I was grateful he had been gifted the time off by his bosses and was thankful for his presence, even if it was a fleeting moment. The end of spring was a busy time of his year as the snow began to melt. Once he was back up on that mountain, even though Ouray was the closet city to them, there was no getting in and out on a regular basis except for emergencies, and he would be stationed seventeen thousand feet up in the air.