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Sunday, 22 June 2014

Between stations

The gentle movement of the carriage rocks me closer to sleep. With a late afternoon sun burning brightly through the glass, I enjoy the feeling of warmth on my face. I wonder, briefly, if anyone will board the next time the train stops. We shudder to a halt, doors open, and I'm suddenly surrounded by walking and talking, sitting and rustling. The peace is shattered. 
A tall man with a limp plops himself down next to me and says hi. He has friendly blue eyes and a soft voice. Within seconds the only conversation we will probably ever have begins. 
As we accelerate he tells me about his recent knee operation. I am sympathetic to his pain. We talk about family, horse riding, holidays and work. He is frustrated at being unable to play football at the moment and regrets not having travelled more when he was younger. A sadness flashes across his face as he tells me that life is short. I nod, suddenly thinking about my bucket list. With a change of subject, he is once again smiling. His girlfriend is coming over tonight to cook him dinner. I laugh at the loveliness of it. He chuckles. 
And as the train begins to slow, I see the station up ahead. I slide my orange Moleskine and silver pen back into my bag and zip it up.
"This is me, I'm afraid", I say as I ready myself to leave. He looks up at me and our hands clasp in a shake.
"Have a nice life", he cheerfully says as I get up out of my seat. I smile and wish him health and happiness. In less than a minute I am standing on a platform, alone once again, bag in hand. 
And as the train pulls away, I make my way up towards the exit and out into the sun.
I can't help but think about these funny little moments we have. Life is all about connections - connections we have with friends and family, strangers and lovers. We share our lives and bear witness to each other's journey. But wherever we go, and whomever we meet on the way, the most important relationship we will ever have is the one we have with ourself. 

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