Train travel and sex go hand in hand. Think of a raucous club car where drinks are poured, secrets are spilled and perfect strangers bunk up for a bumpy night to be forgotten after the train pulls in. Or so I imagine.
I was twenty something, seasoned, wary, when the train gods arranged an unexpected date. Heading home to Calgary, I found myself in a deserted Thunder Bay station late at night.
When the train rolled in, I hoisted my over packed suitcase on to the sleeping car, stumbled down the narrow corridor, found my berth and pulled open the heavy wool curtain.
A young man, semi-nude, good-looking, if unshaven, lounged there.
I found the conductor.
There's a man in my berth.
The conductor, his eyes weary, sleep-deprived, checked my ticket and said, Yes, it's your berth.
Unfastening the curtain, he began to upbraid the intruder who, looking me over, grinned and said, What's the problem? She can get in any time. She's my wife.
A second smiling male head popped out from the berth across the aisle, She's his wife all right.
The conductor, confused, accused me of trouble making.
When I objected, he said, Get off the train then; take it up with the station master.
Nobody had told me that when the train arrived some minutes past 12 am, the date changed. I was a day late. My reservation was for the previous night. Like the Patsy Cline song I was Walkin'After Midnight.