By Ada White from Mount Forest
Ena clutched her luggage in both hands while she examined the departures board inside the Port aux Basque ferry dock. The boat was ready to board. Only 8 hours until the Mainland followed by another 40 on the train to Kitchener. Her three children were huddled on the bench a few feet away, the baby sleeping gave Ena hope for an easy voyage. Taking this trip alone was daunting but she was strong. She handled the last four months alone packing up their lives, deciding what to leave behind. Frazer himself had been working as much as possible so that settling in could be simpler. The two of them were used to struggling but this move was going to provide more for these boys. They would go past Grade 6, never choosing between working to support the household and being educated. This was a good thing, she assured herself putting on a smile to gather her kids off the bench. Her heart stung as they boarded the boat, her whole life had been on this Island and she wasn’t sure when any of them would be back. Chances were slim this would be “home” to her boys, maybe that was the point.
The ferry ride was difficult, her eldest were as restless as the waves, going in circles on the deck for hours before they had enough of the magic and sat bored for the remainder of the trip. So far, the train proved to be worse. There wasn’t much to do in a passenger car. The scenery whipping past provided little entertainment so before long they were jumping over each other. Ena was pacing the aisle with the restless baby, bouncing and singing softly when an older woman stopped her to ask if she could give the toddlers each a cookie for being so well behaved. Ena had expected a reprimanding for not having them under better control.
She smirked “You’re talking about my boys? We’re a bit of a mess right now.”
The stranger laughed hard enough the baby startled.
“You are doing fine mama, they’re handling this trip well.”
She winked, pulling out a metal tin brimming with homemade cookies. The boys’ eyes lit up as she held it towards them. They looked up at Ena for approval; she nodded, holding up one finger. The senior welcomed them to sit as they asked question after question, she had a clever response for each. Her fascinating stories allowed Ena to continue calming the baby. Hours later, all three boys had fallen asleep peacefully with blankets tucked around them. The older lady had been a comforting distraction for most of the ride so as her stop approached Ena rushed to gather her belongings, thanking her emphatically only to be quietly cut off.
“I’ve seen many things in my time, met many people. There’s one thing I like to remember, everyone needs more kindness. It gave me pleasure to meet a beautiful young family so thank you.”
She took Ena’s hands in her aging ones and gave her a genuinely warm smile before turning around.
“Good luck Mama!”
The woman’s smile must have been contagious because as Ena sat back down, hers seemed stuck. She beamed down at her boys, began tearing up and whispered, “This is a good thing.”
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