On the night train to Divaraux, Annmarie met Missy, who was traveling beyond that great city and to the end of the line. Annmarie had never ridden farther than Divaraux, and indeed had only ever gone to the great city once before. The thought of traveling farther, out to where the tracks were still being lain, sent a shiver up her back, and she looked to her seat-mate with wonder.
“Aren’t you frightened?”
“I’m excited,” Missy said, with a grin that showed perfectly white and perfectly straight teeth. “Can you imagine being somewhere where not even the present is built yet? What a way to help shape the future. It could be you could hardly do anything without being a part of it, because that’s what everyone out there is. Who wouldn’t want to be a part of that?”
Annmarie wasn’t certain she’d wanted to be a part of that. She thought of her parents’ home, the one that had been in her mother’s family for three generations now, and didn’t mind at all it was an ancestor who built it, and that she herself would only ever be a footnote in the family records.
Missy laughed, as though she could see Annmarie’s very thoughts. “Come on now, it wouldn’t be as bad as all that.”
Annmarie shook her head. “My family has stories of building everything up from nothing when they decided to settle instead of wander. Well, I say decided, but we all know that isn’t quite how it happened. They were called to do it, of course, and so they did. It wasn’t easy, though. It’s quite different to build a house that’s meant to stand for generations than to build one that needs to be carried on your back when you move.”
“But they figured it out, didn’t they?” Missy said, as if that proved her very point. “They figured it out, and they did it and here you are talking of history and talking of them. Don’t you want to be remembered?”
That question didn’t prompt a shiver, but it did force Annmarie to look out the window. She couldn’t see anything except the reflection of the train car, dark as it was, but it was easier to study the appraising look given by the Missy in the mirror than it was to face it directly. “I think I would prefer to be forgotten.”
“What?” For the first time since the train pulled away from the station, the pleasant smile left Missy’s face, transforming to an expression of sadness, and perhaps not a little bit of horror. “Why ever would you want that?”
“We can’t all be remembered, you know,” Annmarie said. “There’s only so many pages in the history books, and it seems to me the ones with grand plans are the ones who should be there. I can be one of the ones in the chorus, or who is mentioned for being ever so happy to live in the town forever on. I don’t need to be the one they’re all praising.”