Dream on the Orient Express
Iím in Scottsdale, expecting the bus to Phoenix but instead the Orient Express draws to a drawn-out, metal-grinding halt at the stop. The woman who was waiting with me, she with whom I had exchanged no more than a cursory greeting, flashes me a smile with a sting as she climbs up to the carriage, then looks along the corridor while I follow. Which compartment should we take? she asks. This oneís empty, I reply. She loops her arm into mine and whispers that she is a spy and the mission is dangerous.
When she takes off her beret I see that sheís blonde with short, spiky hair. The train is gaining speed. It is dark outside as if the sun had set at noon, but the womanís breathing has extinguished all sense of time. My name is, and she pronounces it slowly in
her foreign accent. When she removes her coat the close fitting outfit beneath it shows her figure to be trim as I had imagined it. Whenever the train passes through a station and lights flash for seconds across our faces we look intently into each otherís eyes. Donít you like it when darkness makes you invisible? she says, combing back my hair with her fingers. But it wonít be dark enough where weíre going. She whispers a humble prayer. Her hands are remodeling me. Nobody in the world knows where we are, she says, Iím nervous and weíll be in Budapest soon.