The strange and sudden thought wouldn’t leave Molly alone, a nuisance of a notion, rather enjoying her frown as she tried to ignore the bear’s loud snores. His head lolled back and forth with the train, his arms spread on either side. Much like a teddy bear, sitting on a shelf.
The door of the compartment had been left open, and so had their neighbor’s. Molly hadn’t really paid any attention to them (Molly seldom paid attention to anyone that didn’t fight for her it or maybe stirred some uneasiness within her), but a woman’s voice carried through the few feet.
“Seems kind of small don’t you think? Is it supposed to be a suite?”
“Suites are big. Single room, like a petite cabin, that’s what this is supposed to be like. For the travelers who don’t want company.” The soft undertones of a man who sounded tired answered, as if the exuberance of his partner drained him.
“Hm. I guess. Still kind of small though.”
Even interesting people can be boring, the thought bothered, leaving Molly pulling at her fingers agitatedly. Under all that paint, he was just like me. Plain. Just a boy without a voice, unheard, unnoticed. Just a bear, playing with a watch, humdrum and dull.
“I’m not saying it isn’t pretty,” the woman continued loudly. “It’s just too small.”
And what about her? Molly finally gave her riding companions a look. The woman was as loud in appearance as she was in voice. Fiery hair sprinted around her skull in a close-cut pixie look, that stunning red that looked almost orange. So red, that it couldn’t be real. Real people didn’t produce hair so fine. From her ears hung curved earrings, shaped to look like ram’s horns. It gave her a very daunting, sure appearance. She was holding up what looked like blue prints, but on the page was nothing but a birdhouse. Molly couldn’t see her partner at the angle she sat.
“I like it,” he murmured.
The woman’s lips tried not to spiral downwards, and instead left her with a half smile, and a look that said You are so wrong, but I’ll forgive you for it–you don’t know any better. “I know you do. And the sentiment is sweet. But we’re not running a vacationing business, we’re a free hotel. If they want to be choosy, they can go somewhere else.”
“We give them what they need. Just think, a room to themselves–a bird might want to nest. A nice cozy spot with no one else to bother him? What bird wouldn’t want to stay!”
“Give the avian community a place to rest and eat while they travel, that’s it. Maybe stay a few days to recover some strength after migration. That’s what we do. You know that.”
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“So enough with these one roomed houses, that’ll never work. What else have you got?”
A hotel for birds. How silly. But…look at her. She’s so confident, as if she’s really giving back to the “avian community” and doesn’t just sound crazy. She’s beautiful in an intimidating way. But, at the heart of the matter, she builds birdhouses, and that’s not terribly interesting after all. At the heart of it, she’s boring too.
Interesting people can be boring too.
“People see the dark clothes and the gold crosses and assume we’re all the same,” the bookstore owner had often said to Molly. “I definitely wasn’t like that silly stereotype. People see you one way and that makes you whatever it is they think that makes you. Why I decided to stop being a nun–I wasn’t very good at it in the end.”
The train shuddered, lurching and groaning as it was willed to a stop. Passengers came and left, and Molly stayed where she was, though the bear snorted awake, scowling about him. Grumbling to himself he looked at his pocket watch, and grumbling some more resettled himself. He seemed to have forgotten Molly was sharing the car with him.
Molly didn’t mind. At the moment, she had forgotten him, too.
Read Again next month for the continuation of The Unordinary, Never Extraordinary