While leaving to catch our airplane home at the end of our first trip to London, my husband Bryant and I became separated while getting on the tube at Victoria Station. When the doors closed, he was still standing on the platform, and I was inside the train car, with my hands on the glass, mouthing the name of the next station. Think Dustin Hoffman in The Graduate.
A man we’d been chatting with while waiting for the train realized Bryant was missing and offered to stay with me. I’m sure he was the kindest of men, but being an avid consumer of British mysteries, I promptly convinced myself he was a serial killer, thanked him profusely and in my sweetest Southern accent, declined.
I exited at the next station and waited. Trains zipped by, but none stopped. There I stood on the tiny platform in the middle of the bucolic English countryside alone, with the exception of the station operator encased in her small booth, and sheep grazing in the field beyond.
As time and trains raced by, I became increasingly anxious. The station operator, who I’d noticed watching me, left her booth and came over to ask if she could help. I explained my situation, and she told me what number train to watch for and assured me my husband would be along any minute.
The trains continued to zip by, but none stopped. Eventually, the operator told me that although she hated to leave me on my own, she had to go to her next posting. Then the telephone rang. She closed the booth door, nodded her head a lot, but did not say much. She hung up the phone and stared at me for a moment. She slowly slid the door open and walked over to me.
“I don’t know who you are,” she said. “But, that was the director of the line on the phone. I’ve never met or talked to the man. He said I’m not to leave your side until you and your husband are reunited.” As I poured out my heartfelt thanks, she continued to stare at me and then added, “Lady, your husband must love you a lot.”
Bryant and I call all our trips adventures. Wherever we travel, invariably something crazy happens. I believe it is because we have opened ourselves to the simple absurdities that come from embracing life and whatever comes. Author J.M. Barrie once said, “The moment you doubt you can fly, you cease for ever to be able to do it.”
Tragically, so many give up before they discover they really do have wings. Depression has left them feeling permanently grounded, unable to cope. Mired in pain, suicide can seem the logical solution to ending their torment.
My fervent desire is for everyone to discover their wings, allow themselves to be lifted by hope and continue this adventure called life.
PHOTO CREDIT: Duke Morse