The train station was deserted. Weeds poked up through the tracks, which were old and warped. The station was simply a raised wooden platform with three walls, a roof over half of it, and a little bench. The steps leading up to it from the ground sagged, and had anyone stepped on them, they would have creaked. Tall, waving grasses grew all around, white moths fluttered from place to cplace, and the track stretched on in both directions as far as the eye could see.

Out of the quiet peace came voices-a man, a woman, and a child. Suddenly they appeared by the station, having come by way of a long and winding road. They were finely dressed, thought the hem of the womans skirt was dusty, and the pink bows on the little girls blonde braids drooped. They paused in front of the station, looking for a moment at the quiet scene bathed in sunshine. Then the man took out his watch.

"Quarter to three." he noted. "The train'll be here soon."

"It's so exciting!" the little girl cried happily. "A real train!"

She ran up the steps, and they creaked softly. The man and woman followed slowly, producing louder creaks. The woman lifted her skirts and looked worriedly at the worn wooden planks.

"I wonder how old this platform is." she mused. "I hope it doesn't collapse."

"Don't worry dear." said the man. "I'm certain it's fine."

"When, when, when is the train coming?" the girl jumped up and down excitedly and the woman winced.

"Soon darling." the man said. He checked his watch. "Fifteen minutes."

"Oh boy!" she cried. She ran to the far edge of the platform and looked out. She ran to the front and peered at the tracks. She ran back to the far edge.

"Darling, don't run about so!" the woman said nervously. She went over to the little bench and sat gingerly down. The man came and stood next to her. The two made a stately picture; with the womans long purple dress and the mans dark grey suit, they were elegant and sophisticated. The little girl was all light and sweetness, with her sparkling blue eyes and fluffy pink frock, swirling as she ran about.

And they waited. The man took out his watch.

"Five minutes to go!" he announced. The woman smiled tightly and the girl bounced up and down.

And they waited. The man checked his watch, frowned, and sat down on the bench. The little girl lay down on er stomach on the platform and peeked over the edge at the murky shadows underneath.

"Darling, don't!" the woman cried out. The girl sat up and asked,

"Is the train coming soon?"

"Very soon." the man said. "It's three o'clock now." He stood and walked to the edge of the platform, then back to the bench.

And they waited. The little girl sat on her knees, finding pictures and patterns in the wood grain of the platform floor. The man got up and began pacing back and forth. He checked his watch.

"Twenty minutes late." he snapped. "Late!" The woman frowned anxiously and touched his hand.

And they waited. The little girl lay on her back, watching the clouds pass overhead. The woman stood up, pated her skirts, and sat down again. The man walked to the front of the platform and looked to the left and right. He checked his watch.

How long now 'till the train comes?" the girl asked quietly.

"It should have been here...thirty minutes ago." the man admitted. "But I', sure it will come soon, don't worry."

And they waited. The little girl lay so still for so long that the woman got up and walked over to her. She looked into the girl's face face, smiled softly, and brushed a few loose curls out of her eyes.

"She's asleep." the woman said.

"Just as well." the man shook his head. "That train is forty minutes late."

The woman smiled at him and sat down next to the sleeping girl, leaning against the wooden wall. The man continued pacing.

And they waited. The woman closed her eyes and her tense body relaxed. The little girl slept on, and the man sat down on the bench with an inner sigh. Clouds began to move in front of the sun. The sky darkened, and a light rain fell on the little station.

And they waited. The rain got harder and louder. The sky got darker. Water dripped through cracks in the ceiling. The man checked his watch, sighed, and stood.

He walked over to where the woman sat, and gently shook her awake.

"An hour late." he murmured. "Let's face it-that train's not coming."

The woman sighed and stood stiffly. The man carefully lifted the sleeping girl into his arms. They descended the steps, barely creaking at all, and left the way they had come.

The train station was deserted. Weeds poked up through the tracks, which were old and warped. The station was simply a raised wooden platform with three walls, and a roof. Rain fell steadily, filling the air with a pattering sound.

Out of the quiet peace came a noise-the sound of a train whistle. A few moments later the four o'clock train chugged past the little station. As always, the conductor didn't even bother to stop; no one was ever there.