I was once travelling back to Somerset from Manchester by train. Sitting opposite me was a smiley elderly lady, plump in a comfortable grandmotherly way; I don’t remember what she was wearing except, she had glasses and a pale blue feathery hat. Sitting beside me was a guy about the same age as me, in his twenties, slightly chubby, dark hair, tanned complexion and a pleasant, good-looking face.
We had nodded and smiled politely as we took our seats in Manchester, and had made the occasional comment about the weather as we raced through the evening countryside. All was going well until the train slowed and stopped and announcement came over the intercom to say we had experienced a technical problem.
After a little while we began to converse and before long we were chatting away, enjoying each other’s company. It was one of those odd moments when we all really hit it off, elderly lady, and two young people. I was a teacher, he was an opera singer (yes really) with the Welsh National Opera. We talked about all sorts of things, ourselves, our journeys, life, the universe… you know the sort of conversation! There was an empathy between us, a connection, a shared sense of humour and slightly off-beat view on life, and a sort of platonic attraction between the young man and me.
We were stuck on the train for a couple of hours which just flew by and then we were on our way. I think the elderly lady got off in Birmingham and he got off to make a connection for a train to Wales… it was before the days of cell phones and the internet, there was no face book or emailing, so I never met either of them again. I did once see his name on a listing for the Welsh national Opera. I don’t remember his name now, maybe he was Anthony, maybe he wasn’t. In another life or world we could have become the best and closest of friends – the three of us, I’m sure.
I thought afterwards we would have made a great trio of amateur detectives in a TV drama…