Salvation

The station continued to move about them. Public address calls, murmurs, clops of hard soles, the faint sound of a bright trumpet playing on the corner outside.

She looked to the arched window, pale blue eyes welling.

Henry’s hand fell slowly to his lap, head down.

“I’m sorry, LizBeth.”

Her jaw rocked forward and back. Head cocked.

“Now boarding Track 4, Southern West: Birmingham, Johnsonville, Merchant City, Jackson, Willoughby, Switchnut, Alice, Springfield…

Platteville, McDurbin, Saint Stevens, Hawkins, Mooresville, Alansville, Sharpeton, Cheyenne, Rawlins, Salt Lake City.”

“Henry?”

“Yes, love?”

“Will you help me with my things?”

“Certainly, love.”

Henry adjusted his fedora and lifted one bag under his arm, two under the other, grasping the larger bags with his hands.

Hooking her gray purse in the crotch of her elbow, she retrieved her clarinet case from the pew.

As she turned to walk a young man stepped in front of her, cutting her off.

“Excuse me ma’am, but I couldnt help but notice your case there!”

He was a young man, early twenties. Square features yet still boyish. Tall, nearly six feet.

“Pardon me?” she replied.

“Your case – it wouldnt happen to be a woodwind, would it?”

“Why yes it is! A clarinet, you see?” She quickly opened the case to reveal the shiny black and silver of her Jupiter B♭ Special.

“Ma’am, my name is Charles Martin Martin and I’m the captain of the local Salvation Army Band! We need a clarinetist – would you be available?”

“It just so happens I would, Charles!”

“Martin…”

“Martin!” she corrected herself.

“Wonderful!”

She quickly turned to Henry. “Do you happen to have your Honer with you, Henry?”

“Why yes! Yes I do, love!” Henry dropped his load of luggage and from his watch pocket slid a gleaming chrome harmonica. He drew it across his dark pink lips, blowing a quick, “wheedle-dee-deet!”

“Why, we could use a clarinet and a harmonica in the band! Are you two available?”

“We certainly are!” exclaimed Elizabeth.

“Do you need a trombone?” A man stood up from the forth pew behind them. “I have a few more hours until my train leaves!”

“Sure we do!” replied Charles Martin Martin.

A man stepped out from behind the soda fountain. “Got room for a tuba?”

“You know we do!” cried Captain Martin.

Nearly the whole congregation of the terminal stepped outside to hear them play.

As they approached the corner bearing the little red pot, Elizabeth touched Capt. Martins coat sleeve and asked, “So, Captain. Are you… single?”

 

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