TITLE: The Big Life
A day and a half of travel was long enough for me to make friends with all the porters, mend a hole in my left stocking, and reread Uncle Owen's letter about a hundred times.
Dear Kate, he had written, surely you won't remember me.
How could he think I'd forget?
Uncle Owen had once been the magic man in my life, the unpredictable genie whose rare visits made an escape from my farmbound life seem possible. I hadn't seen him in ten years. Now that he'd invited me to visit, I hoped I'd find that magic intact.
The train pulled into Chicago's Grand Central Station. I stepped down onto the platform and did what I could to look like I belonged there. I shook out the skirt of my gray traveling suit, hoping it was long enough to hide the darn in my stocking. I patted my red hair into place. Then I took a moment to look around me.
People surrounded me on all sides: tall and short, light and dark, fat and skinny. There were more of them than I had ever seen before in one place, even in my old county parish that brought in Catholics from over fifteen miles of heavily Irish farmland in the heart of Iowa.
I had always wanted to step into a bigger world, and it seemed I finally had.
One man in the terminal caught my eye. He was tall and rail-thin, with skin the color of walnuts.