Three A.M. – A Short Story

October 11, 2012 at 3:53 am (Guest Blogger) (, , , )

Original Story by E.B. Jones

I woke up slowly and looked at the clock, it was three in the morning. I can’t remember a single night since my wife and I moved here that I didn’t end up waking up at three in the morning. A train used to always come by at three and blow it’s whistle at the intersection right behind out house. The first time that it happened my wife and I both shot out of bed, scared out of our minds trying to figure out just what the hell was going on. We knew that there was a train track behind our house but we didn’t have any idea that it was going to be going past at three in the morning. The realtor had failed to mention that whenever we were looking at the house.

We’d moved here about six months after we were married because we decided that buying a home was the next logical step in our lives.

“It’s more like an investment,” She would say as she chewed celery and looked at the brochure that the mortgage company had given us. “I mean, right now we’re just throwing money away at that sleazy land lord of ours, and you know real estate always goes up in value.”

“Sounds good,” I would say, sipping my coffee and not trying to be contentious, “But are we really ready to settle down just yet?”

“Well, we were settled down enough to get married.” She laughed.

“You have a point.” I told her.

“Besides,” She would say as she put her hand on mine. “I think we’re ready.”

We both smiled and then spent the rest of the time figuring out the details on how to close, how much we would need for a down payment and everything else. She was much better with the numbers than I was so she took care of most of the details, besides, we both knew that it was really going to be her house.

The next few weeks we spent looking through the real estate ads at all the houses that were for sale.

“Oh, I absolutely love this one!” She would tell me quietly. She had heard that if the realtor knew that we were excited about a place then they would have an easier time convincing the client that it was a good home, despite the obvious flaws.

The realtor could still always tell whenever she was excited though, so I had to be the skeptic and ask questions that might make us look less interested. “I don’t know,” I would say, “I mean, what is the  crime rate around here?” I wanted to make sure we weren’t getting something we would regret.

“It’s a lovely neighborhood, low crime, great schools and the neighbors are all just so active in the community.” The realtors always said the same thing, sometimes even in the same exact words and I wondered if there was some sort of script that all realtors had to memorize in order to get their license.

The first time we walked into the house that we would eventually buy in a month and a half my wife couldn’t keep it in. “I just love it!” She blurted out.

And we both told the realtor, “We’ll take it!” The final paperwork was signed and we made the hefty down payment and they handed us the keys.

We drove from the old apartment to the new house with the last of our things and got out, marveling at our first real purchase as a married couple. We stood for at least ten minutes just looking at the front door, then she broke the long silence. “Oh my god, a flower garden here on the front with some bushes would look amazing! I could plant some azalea’s and maybe some small bushes,” and then, “You can put in a nice brick walkway up to the front porch, and then people can walk up to it while we sit on the porch in the spring and sip on tea!”

She was so excited about our new home. I was excited as well, “I can build a shop back here so I can work on things.” I told her. I had no idea what I would work on, I was just an accountant and had never really built or repaired anything in my life, but it seemed like something that a married man would do.

“Oh! What kind of shop!” She would ask me excitedly.

“I don’t know yet, maybe I’ll get a lathe and learn how to do wood carving, like my grandpa did. Or I could just turn the garage into an auto repair place and buy me a hot rod and soup it up!”

She tilted her head and looked at me, “As long as it doesn’t take up my side of the garage.”

After walking around the house and coming up with all of our crazy ideas of shops, gardens, sun rooms, dinner parties, barbeques and even a quickly dismissed idea of beekeeping, we started to unload the car.

Most of the larger or heavy stuff we had hired professional movers to take care of so it didn’t take us very long to get everything into the house. We walked around the three bedroom house and were amazed  at just how little possessions we actually owned.

“It’s ok, we can buy new things. Furniture that actually matches so it all looks proper.” I laughed.

“You’re right, and there’s two empty rooms, maybe we could think about starting a family. You know, once we get all settled in.” She said looking at me with a gleam in her eyes.

“Really?” I asked, “You want to try for kids?” I wasn’t sure how I felt about kids. I wasn’t against the idea, I had just never really given it much thought.

“Yeah,” She hesitated, “I mean, if you want too.”

I hesitated myself, then finally, “Of course, I’d love too.”

She slung her arms around me and kissed me and then jumped up in the air and before we realized what was going on we were in bed working on starting up a new family.

That evening we ordered pizza. I think it was mostly so we could invite someone to see our new place, thinking that they would think it was just as spectacular as we thought it was. The pizza delivery boy didn’t seem as excited as we were whenever she told him that we had just moved into the neighborhood.

We ate the pizza and watched our favorite movie together and then decided to go to sleep, it had been a very long day today, and we still had many more boxes to unpack tomorrow.

A few hours later, it happened, the loud screeching of a train screaming through the room like some kind of banshee trying to warn us that the house was haunted. I jumped out of bed and grabbed for something to beat off whatever the noise was that had interrupted our peaceful slumber.

It only took about thirty seconds for us to figure out what was going on but it felt like an eternity. She was holding a fly swatter and I had picked up a cardboard tube that one of her paintings was in. We looked at each other and then we started laughing. Then we got back in bed and both fell asleep to the sound of the train going off in the distance.

The next day we unpacked and laughed some more about the train that night, thinking it was probably just a one time thing. It wasn’t. Every single night at close to three in the morning the train whistle would screech through our room, waking us up every night.

The train whistle wasn’t the reason that she left, but she isn’t here anymore. We never had any children and she never planted that garden. None of the furniture is the same and I’m still driving the same four door sedan that I’ve had for the past six years. The train doesn’t come by anymore, but I still wake up every morning, for just a minute or two, at three in the morning.

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