The Orient Express in 2025

I want to ride the Orient Express in 2025.  They are refurbishing seventeen original cars– lush and extravagant – with all the glamor of rail travel of old.  Formal dining, a club car, suites, a trip fit for royalty.  I want to clatter through Budapest and Venice, London and Paris.  I want to dress for dinner.  I want to fall asleep to the rhythm of the car swaying as it makes it way through the dark.  I want to wear an evening gown with a dramatic white silk stole and a beaded purse.

I imagine being pampered and shutting out the real world.  Going back in time to elegance and refinement.  Shhhhh…. I know the good old days weren’t so good… but there were some things that were.  Never mind they were only available for the wealthy and only will be again in 2025.  I can dream.

I would want to find vintage luggage for this trip.  A train case.  A hat box.  Yes, I would wear a hat and hosiery and gloves.  Eating cucumber sandwiches with a full English tea.

I would wear bright red lipstick and the hosiery would have seams up the back.  My powder compact would be gold and my hairbrush an ornate silver with boars’ bristles.

There would be a mysterious man alone.  I too would be alone.  Solo travel is a delight.  No, really!  It is.

We would be at separate tables in the dining car.  We’d eye one another over our martini glasses while waiting for our appetizers. I would meet his gaze with equal curiosity.  No coyness.  Later our eyes will lock over our wine glasses.  His a blazing blue, mine green.  After dinner, I will head for the club car.  He will follow.  His tux black as midnight in the moonlight that comes through the expansive windows. 

Over Courvoisier or perhaps Chambord, we will introduce ourselves.  He will say, “It is my pleasure to meet you.”  We will talk late into the night until we hear the bartender closing up for the night.  Our suites are in opposite directions.  He will go one way; I will go another.

Returning to my room, I will find that the porter has turned down the bed and left chocolate on the pillow.  There will be a carafe of water with floating orange slices next to the bed.  I will don a satin nightgown and matching robe.  I sink into the easy chair by the window and reflect on the evening’s events.  Is he someone I want to know?  Will he keep my interest?  Are we just two trains passing in the night?  What?

Sipping orange-flavored water, I will ponder all these questions and more in my journal, eventually setting the cut crystal glass and fountain pen down and crawling into bed.  The linen sheets cool and comforting, the counterpane heavy and warm.  Turning the stained glass lamp off, I will be asleep in moments.  To dream some more.

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