Rouses Point

The Amtrak left the station at twelve, vanishing its passengers into the white damask of country fog that covered the Hudson Valley. The last stop had been Rhinecliff, and more people had gotten off the train than on. The quiet car emptied except for Marnie, alone in a four-seat booth. Ribbons of flax-blonde hair, dark brows, and a pale imploring face that she thought of as beautiful stared back at her from the boggy pane of the train window, racing away to the north.

A nighttime trip two days after New Year’s. When she’d boarded at Grand Central, the carriage had been half full. It drained quickly: grandparents returning from their children’s for the holidays; businessmen with their tired briefcases; a college student or two, put out by the change in semester. Even Marnie was not supposed to be there. At the station, she meant to buy a ticket home to Hartford, but at the last second she changed it to Montreal. “Oh, why shouldn’t you?” her cousin Renée had laughed on the phone. “Who wants to be with your parents when we can be single together in an actual city?”

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