The Train Ticket Girl
After Kloppman announced that all I had to was wait, the day just got slower. There was nothing to do other than sell for a news boy like me, so time off was just too rare. And when that rare time pulled around... I was stumped. Every body else had something to do, but me. Racetrack would grab some guys to play craps or poker, Jack would get into trouble or go see Sarah. David and Les were either at school or at home, Dutchy, Specs and some others would be reading, the younger boys might be found playing marbles... and then there was me. I didn't know how to read all that well, I didn't have a girl, I was too old for marbles. So that whole day I just sat on one of the old couches by the door, staring at Kloppman's room. I would have liked to stay in there and just talk to him about the girl, but he shooed me out, saying once she woke up, she wouldn't want to see me staring down at her. Yeah, like she'd want to see some old man instead.
A couple of times, Race and the others bugged me to tell them about the girl just on the other side of the door, but I just shrugged and ignored them. This was one thing I'd be bragging about for a while now. See, I was always the last one to know about something; say if Medda was having a party, Spot's boys were coming over for a game of poker or someone got tipped a buck. My luck at hearing about things ran thin, so now that I was the only one who knew about the girl sleeping in Kloppmans room, I felt rather proud of myself.
Just as the day had started crazily, in ended boring. It felt like just another day with the boys; get up, do something, go to bed. This continuing circle was starting to drive me mad! I wanted something exciting to happen in my life.
I trudged up the steps a few minutes earlier than I knew everyone else would, weary from a day of doing nothing but staring at a door, hoping that Kloppman might have news. I stripped of my clothing and climbed into my bed, flopping onto the thin, worn mattress with a swoosh of air coming from my nostrils. I closed my eyes, and almost instantly fell asleep.
Unlike the night before, I slept without trouble. It was a deep sleep, that would probably have me feeling more exhausted the next morning. I didn't dream, like every other night of my life. Some said it was a blessing... but I thought I was missing out. After all, most people talked about their dreams as though it was a second world they could live in. Things usually went their way, their was always a happy ending... even Specs said he "taught" himself to fly! So why didn't I get the honor?
I was rudely awaken out of my deep slumber by a rough shove to my shoulder. Of course, hoping that it wasn't important, I rolled away from the shake, burying my face on the chilly side of my pillow. Apparently, rolling away didn't make what ever it was go away, and I was only shaken harder. Letting out a groan, I slapped at whoever it was, mumbling I'd get up in a few moments.
"Mush! Get up!" A rough voice growled in my ear. Remember the voice belonged to Kloppman, I sat up, my eyes half opened in exhaustion.
"Wut? She awake yet?" I mumbled, stretching my bare shoulders.
"Nah. Hasn't moved since she went out." Kloppman mumbled, looking up at me from where he stood.
"Then why'm I up?" I hissed, flopping down against my pillow after I flashed him a glare.
"Cause I need to run out a get a few things, but I ain't just gonna run off and leave her here. And since I trust you, you're going to watch her." He told me, poking me in the chest.
I opened my right eye slowly, scrutinizing him.
"I thought ya didn't want 'er ta wake up to me standin' over 'er?" I growled, opening both of my eyes.
"Mush-!" Kloppman began, becoming agitated with me.
"Alright, alright. I'm up..." I mumbled, rolling off of my bed and hitting the messy floor feet first. I rummaged around the garbage on the floor for my clothing, slipped them on and walked down stairs, just behind Kloppman.
"If she does wake up, don't let her leave, alright?" Kloppman asked as he walked out the door, but didn't wait for my answer.
After cracking my neck on both sides, I sluggishly turned around and opened Kloppman's door. I closed my eyes as I yawned, turned around and closed the door behind myself. Letting my exhaustion get the better of me, I leaned my forehead against the wooden door for a moment, my eyes closed. After a couple of seconds, I turned around to see the girl sitting up in the bed she slept in, her big blue eyes widened in disbelief.
I stopped short, my tired eyes at once awake.
For a moment, when just stood and sat there, staring at each other; studying the way we looked and who we were.
Finally, I shook myself out of my momentary pause, and walked cauciously over to her bed. She didn't move, but only watched me as I sat down on the bed next to her.
"Hey there..." I mumbled, looking her outfit over. Kloppman had told me he put her in different clothes, but he must have changed her back, because she wore the clothes I found her in; a faded grayish brown long sleeved shirt that was so long it hid her hands, a brown vest and tan pants that were way too long. Her black shoes were sitting just under the bed, but they still looked like they were drying.
"I'm Mush." I told her after inspecting her clothing, "What's yoah name?"
The girl looked away from my eyes, sudddenly deep in thought like she couldn't exactly remember. But... how could she forget her name?
Turned back to me, she opened her mouth as though she was about to speak, but all that came out was a quiet squeak. Her faded blue eyes widened as she touched her throat in surprise.
"What's wrong?" I asked, confused by her gestures.
Once again, the girl opened her mouth, trying to speak. Only this time, nothing came out.
"You... can't talk?" I asked, guessing that's what she was trying to say.
She nodded her head slowly, confused why she couldn't.
"Well... uhm. Can you write?" I asked; I at least wanted some answers from her.
She nodded, so I got up and grabbed a blank notepad, as well as a pen, off of Kloppman's desk just outside the door. Once back sitting on her bed, I handed her the things, ready to ask the questions I've wanted to ask her since yesterday.
"So who are you? Where are you from? What about your name?" I asked her quickly, glancing at the pad and pen in her hands.
She put the pen to the pad, thought for a moment, and then began writing down some things. It wasn't a minute after she began that she held up the pad. There on the paper, scrawled in nice hand writing, were only three words.
I can't remember.
"You can't remember... anything?" I asked incredulously.
She nodded her head, her eyes looking confused and filled with terror.
"And... you can't talk?"
Again, she nodded her head.
So here I was, with a mute girl who couldn't remember who she was, where she was or where she was from.