When I was 22 I took a 6 day train trip from Miami, Florida to Reno, Nevada to start a new life.
When I was 20 I thought I had found the answer to my unhappiness and lonliness, I fell in love with Dottie. It seemed that I had found the only person who would love me and I couldn't imagine us ever separating. After 2 years and reasons I'm still not sure of, she told me that she had to go away to school in Tennessee and didn't want to see me anymore.
I couldn't stay in Miami, where I had lived all my life. I called my aunt and uncle who I had only met once and asked if I could stay with them in Reno while I looked for a place to live.
I decided that I would take the train in order to distance myself from Miami and my former life. I spent the 3 weeks before leaving saying good-bye to friends and visiting places for the last time. I got on the train in North Miami for the 3 day trip to Chicago. Through the south the train was dirty and the people not very friendly. We were stopped for a whole night due to a freight train derailment. We sat on the track next to the derailed train looking at broken cars.
By the time we got to Chicago I had just enough time to run and catch the train bound for Reno, the Zephyr. Immediately everything looked more positive, the train was clean and the cars had western decoration inside. The people on the train were very friendly and I found myself sitting in the observation car and meeting new people as we made our way from the midwest into the real west.
I could feel the past being distanced behind me. I ate Trout in the dining car and sang with 2 girls between train cars as we entered Colorado. It really felt like a new life was beginning. After Colorado we went north to Wyoming, across Utah, through the middle of the Great Salt Lake and into Nevada. I arrived in Reno early on Sunday morning and started the second part of my life.
I wrote to Dottie, but she never wrote back. After 5 years I had given up, but not forgotten Dottie, when she called. I was flying back to Miami to visit my parents before I married Jeanne and Dottie said she wanted to see me. She was having a difficult time and said she wanted to marry me and would live anywhere I wanted. I met her in Miami and told her I was getting married.
Five years later she committed suicide.