melody.jpgWe met on the morning train that ran from St. Louis to Chicago. A legal secretary, she caught the train in Springfield to deliver the papers to the Cook County Courthouse in the Windy City. I had to spend two days in Chicago covering a meeting of the Illinois Board of Higher Education.

We talked, flirted. When the train pulled into Chicago’s Union Station, she gave me her office and home phone numbers and suggested I stop off in Springfield on my way back south the next day.

I called the next day. With a date made, I stopped off in Springfield and met at her apartment. After a minimal amount of small talk we scrapped plans to go out for dinner, ordered Chinese delivery and headed for the bedroom.

The next morning, she called in sick and I cancelled my train reservations. I stayed four more days. We never left the apartment and took breaks only for sleep, food and showers. The sex was instense, satisfying but oddly disquieting. Someone seemed to bother her even in the height of passion. One morning, she stood in the rain on her balcony and I took this picture. I don’t think she even noticed. I put my camera away and vowed to surprise her with a print later. Later, when I examined the slide, I noticed how much she seemed lost in thought.

Finally, the realities of jobs and paychecks intervened. On a Friday afternoon, she took me to the train station and we kissed in a deep, passionate, arousing embrace. I promised to call when I got home.

“Please don’t,” she said. “I have a boyfriend and he gets back tomorrow.”

That was 29 years ago. I never saw or heard from her again.

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