Two hours into our 33-hour train ride from the Maritimes to southern Ontario. Trees and rivers rush past out window. Everything is exciting. Everything is new.
Jane: (smiling) The train doesn't feel like home.
Me: What do you mean?
Jane: It just... doesn't feel like home.
20 hours and two trains later. Jane pauses mid-drawing to say something that's struck her again.
Jane: The train doesn't feel like home. Do you know what I mean?
Me: I think so.
But I don't. Not yet.
Seven hours later. Our train has broken down in the middle of southern Ontario farmland. A short wait becomes a long wait. A second train comes along and pushes us the rest of the way to the next station. A voice comes on the public address system telling us we must gather all of our belongings and switch to another train.
It is late. Jane and Alice are sleeping. Somehow, Erin and I manage to shoulder all six bags and both girls. Henry is a big help.
I am carrying Jane. She stirs.
Me: We have to move to another train.
Jane: I thought we'd be there by now.
She begins to cry.
Me: I'm so sorry. I know it has been a long trip. I know you're tired. But if you just close your eyes again, when you wake up again, we'll be there with Grandma and Grandpa.
She cries harder. Between gasps, she says again what she intuitively felt from the beginning of the trip.
Jane: The train doesn't feel like home.
Me: I know.
And I do.