I am rattling my way north.
On board in Savannah, the conductor allocates me an aisle seat. I plead for a window. He waves me on, no window.
I see one anyway, an empty double berth and I snatch it.
I sit by the window, wickedly. A man boards. He tells me I am in his seat. I sigh and look at him. He says he doesn’t mind sitting in the aisle.
That’s a start – I may have just lost my double berth bed for the night, but at least I have the window.
The conductor boards and stares at me. I stare blankly back. He raises his paper list and his pencil and changes my seat.
I sleep in a tiny hole for a bed, all night on a crowded train, and wake to mists and thicker forests laced with small dirt tracks, pleased to see there is hope for the animals.
All through the night a song plays in my head: This train is bound for glory, this train.
It is a strange thing about myself that I have noticed over the years, but I sing startlingly appropriate songs at startlingly appropriate moments.
Why am I singing ‘this train’?
And then it slugs me right in the chest – it is a year to the day since I flew into New York City. A year to the day since I walked out the doors of JFK, limping heavily with a recovering broken foot, and hit the pavement of the world’s greatest city looking for a book deal.
I count the days in my head. It is May 22. A year ago today I arrived in New York City to find a publishing deal.
A year to the day I am returning on my book tour.
I wonder if I am singing in my future.