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Sometimes you have to take a break

By Pamela DirrPublished 10 months ago 9 min read

Erica woke up and rubbed the sleep from her eyes. As her eyes slowly focused, she realized that she wasn’t in her bed. She was on a train! Looking out the window, she saw nothing but blurred trees and skies. “Where am I?” she wondered. She tried to replay the events of last night, but she couldn’t remember much. Did she buy a train ticket to somewhere? She checked her purse and her pockets. Nope. No train ticket. And then she noticed that she was the only one on the train car. She tried to check her phone to see where her mapping program locates her at. But the map program wasn’t working. She looked closely at her phone: no service. “Great, just great,” she whispered to herself. What was she going to do now?

As she looked around the train car to see if it gives any indication of where she is and why she’s there, she notices a single serve coffee maker with an assortment of coffee. She also notices single serve packets of sugar and single servings of creamer. “Well, I guess it is time for coffee anyway,” she thinks to herself as she shrugs her shoulders and helps herself to a cup of coffee. She wasn’t sure what time it is (because her phone isn’t working properly), but she guesses it’s mid-morning as she tries to look through the blurred visions out the window. “Why is this train traveling so fast?” she wonders.

She notices that it’s a very smooth ride though, so she decides to check out the train car while she drinks the coffee. She’s still very confused as to exactly where she is and how she wound up there. It’s a very large, but simple train car. The walls of the car are a light blue, and the floor is an ashen color. One side of the car has light green seats for passengers. The front half of the other side of the car has white tables and trays that are filled with breakfast foods and well as a coffee bar. Next to the coffee bar is a dorm sized refrigerator that is stocked with sandwiches and bottles of water. The back half of that side of the car is equipped with small sleeping quarters all with light purple doors and walls. And just behind the sleeping quarters is a full-sized bathroom.

Curious as to what is behind the purple door, she slowly opens it a crack. “Am I alone here? Or is someone else here with me?” she wonders, and she slowly and carefully continues to open the door. Once she has the door open all the way, she notices that no one is in the sleeping area. She lets out a small sigh of relief, but she’s still confused. “What is going on here?”

Erica decides to sit at one of the tables and finish her coffee. She looks at the food assortment on the tables and decided on a glazed donut. She looks at her phone again – still no service. The train doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon, so she figures she might as well just make the best out of this really weird situation. As she eats the donut and drinks her coffee. She again tries to figure things out. But she can’t. “Where was I last night?” she whispers to herself as she again tried to remember the events of last night. She knows she’s been stressed lately because of work, but she didn’t think she was that stressed to not remember what she was doing last night. Stress, yes, it’s got to be stress.

She finishes her donut and coffee and sits back in the seat she was originally in when she woke up. She looks around the area. She notices a bag full of clothes, and her laptop. “Hhhmmm,” she wonders. “I wonder how some of clothes and my laptop got here.” She thinks to herself that she might as well take a shower and change her clothes. After all, there’s not much else to do as she keeps pondering how she mysteriously arrived on the train. So, after looking around the train car again to make sure no one else is around, she ventures into the bathroom.

Erica is cautious as she turns on the bathroom light. She flips the switch and is thankful that she is still alone. She takes a look around the bathroom. The tiled walls are a combination of blue and white. The floor tiles are white. One wall is a full mirror with a double sink. Another wall is a shower/tub combination. Another wall has a linen closet with a full array of towels and shower supplies and other toiletries. The door to the bathroom is also along that same wall. A toilet is against the 4th wall. Erica decides to make the most of her time, so she turns on the shower water and sets it to the desired temperature. She grabs shower supplies from the closet and takes her shower. The water is the perfect temperature. She feels very relaxed in the shower. After the shower she wraps the most comfortable cotton towel she has ever felt around her. She looks in the mirror. “I still don’t understand how I got here,” she says to herself. She dries off, gets dressed, and brushes her teeth. She goes back out to the main car.

As she looks around the main car again, she figures it’s got to be afternoon by now. She grabs a sandwich from the mini fridge, and a bottle of water from the table. She sits and examines the sandwich: round roll, turkey, Swiss cheese, lettuce, and mayo. Her favorite sandwich. Weird that it would randomly be on the train. As she takes the first bite, she’s impressed. It’s probably the best tasting sandwich she’s ever had. She wonders where it came from and who made it.

She begins to look around the train car again. She’s hoping to find a clue, ANY clue, as to why she’s on the train and how she got here. ANYTHING. She gets up from the table and starts to slowly walk up and down the aisle of the car. There was nothing abnormal about anything that she has had to eat or drink so far. Nothing wrong with the shower she took. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary to her at all. Until she saw a picture on the wall. She walked over to it and noticed the words, DO WHAT YOU LOVE. It made her think.

“Is it trying to tell me something?” she thought out loud. “I already do what I love. Don’t I?” she whispered to herself. And then she thought of the direction that her life was going in. Erica has been under a lot of stress at work. There have been a lot of new employees lately and things have been very fast paced for the past few months. So fast, actually, that she’s been having a really difficult time keeping up with everything. Not only does Erica have her own work to get done every day, but she’s also in charge of training all of the new hires. Everything has been a whirlwind lately. For the past couple of months, she’s actually been wondering if it’s all worth it. “Well, I guess it makes sense,” she says to the picture as she sits on a chair and powers up her laptop. “Maybe I no longer love what I do.” But she wasn’t sure if that is completely true.

Erica has been in the medical field for over 10 years. She loves everything medical, and she recently was asked to train all the new people that joined them. She is a nurse practitioner for a home health care agency and her primary job is to go from house to house seeing multiple patients a day and re-evaluating them. The company recently hired 5 new registered nurses and she has been tasked with training all 5 of them, in addition to her own work and her own charting. It means may long days for her, and sometimes working 7 days instead of her normal 5 days. She loves the work, but it has become way too much for her. So, seeing the DO WHAT YOU LOVE photo on the wall of the train, really made her think.

Erica was still wondering how she got on the train, but it made her do a lot of thinking. She realized that she needs to slow down at work. She realized that she needs to take time for herself. She realized that her job was taking advantage of her by having her work long days and 7 days a week to train the new hires. There are plenty of other registered nurses and nurse practitioners that could also train them. She prides herself on being a good employee, and that everyone looks up to her at work; but at what point do you say, “enough is enough?” At what point do you start telling people that you’ve already been tasked with too many responsibilities and that you just physically can’t fit any more on your plate? Erica has just now, on this train, begun to realize this.

As she’s sitting there looking at her laptop, Erica sees the work schedule for next week. She’s schedule for 7 days, from 7am until 5pm., training all 5 new nurses. She knows she can’t handle that workload anymore. She sighs, closes the laptop, and then closes her eyes for a few minutes.

When Erica awakens, she is no longer on the train. She is on her living room couch, and she notices that her television is on, as well as all of the lights in her apartment. “I must’ve dozed off for a while,” she says out loud to herself. But did she? Had she dreamt everything, or had it all actually happened? It all felt so real. But it also gave her insight to what she needed to do. She grabbed her laptop from the coffee table and composed an email to her manager. She would no longer be working 70 hours a week, and she would no longer be training all 5 of the new nurses. Erica was going to start slowing down a little and taking time for herself. She was going to gain a lot of her personal time back instead of allowing her job to control her. Especially a job where she doesn’t feel appreciated. She was going to start doing more of what she loved; just like the picture on the train said.

AdventureFantasyShort Story

About the Creator

Pamela Dirr

I like to write based on my personal experiences. It helps me clear my mind. We all go through things in life. Good things. Not so good things. My experiences might also help other people with things that they might be going through.

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