The big train glided out of the station. I waved and smiled from the platform. My son was headed out to see friends in another city. Although he would only be gone a few days, I was sad as the train pulled away. I wished that our whole family could take the trip to see friends from a past assignment, but circumstances intervened. School, work, and life go on even during the holidays. I knew he would have a wonderful time seeing his high school friends during his college break, and I would see him again in two days.
I got on the commuter train to go home alone and sat looking out the window as the German countryside went by. Tall evergreens, hills in the distance, red-roofed villages, were all sprinkled with snow. I thought of the Polar Express, arctic wolves and deep winter woods, but this train was just ordinary, and a little seedy at that.