How to Live with Your Model Trains

A man stands among a sprawling model train set covering most of the open surfaces of his not-huge bedroom. He is crying and wearing pajamas, looking like a long toddler. “Joel made a plan, he finishes it! He’s the one who convinced me to get the trains in the first place!”

A woman is standing in his doorway, failing to hide her ennui. “We’re not dating anymore, me and Joel. He can’t take all these toy trains with him. I’m sorry that he wants to go and leave me with this apartment lease… with you, Mike.”

“They’re not toys, they’re models, Bonny,” Mike says. “And Joel and I have become very close, and I need to talk to him because he’s not gonna leave.”

“He’s not gonna leave?” Bonny says.

“No… he wouldn’t…”

“Well, he’s gonna leave, Mike. He wants to backpack to Montana and do Tinder or whatever,” she says, taking a moment to gather herself. “You should say goodbye.”

“In my family I was raised to not say goodbye,” Mike says, picking up a little plastic tree to fiddle with. “I was just wondering if it was because of something I did?”

“No,” she says, opening a hand. “You’re our roommate. Nothing you could’ve done — We’re just not right for each other, so. It’s fine.”

“Ok,” Mike says, crying and furiously thinking. “What if I gathered you… and made you remember how much you loved each other?”

“Are you saying you want to parent trap us? No, don’t parent trap us. It’s fine! We’re friends. We’re gonna take some time and then be friends again.”

“Ok…” Mike says, sniffing. “Ok…” He goes to turn on a train. “Oh my God, what about Taco Tuesday?” he moans. He looks up and Bonny is gone.

Originally published at on January 10, 2020.

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Lost southern boy learning to be a storyteller in Los Angeles. Interested in writing together?

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