As I sat on the train back from Edinburgh to Leicester I saw 3 old women and 1 old man, climb in. They came and sat right next to me. The train journey is long, takes about 5 hours from Edinburgh to where I live. Longer for them as they were heading to Bournemouth, which is on the other end of the country.
The train moved and I could make out the 3 old women were good friends. The man was married to one of them. The old couple cosied up and sat down, I could see a level of warmth, concern and love between the two. He wiped her mouth when she finished a croissant, passed her the Review section of the newspaper without asking. She gave him a pen to do the crossword, when he turned the page to reach it. It was interesting.
Nosy that I am, I was staring!
The couple sat and read, the other two women got bags out. One of them was knitting a jumper, the other was making some strange looking green, fabric triangles with a needle and thread. The average age between them would have been 80-85 yrs I guess.
Getting a bit curious, I asked the old woman with the stars, what she was making, coz it looked quite interesting. That was it, she put aside and a most interesting conersation started.
She told me her name - Pat and introduced her friends, they have lived near each other all their lives and have been friends since childhood. She was making stars for the Christmas tree. She asked me where I was going and what I do, etc. After a while came the question about marriage and children, as is typical. And my luck!
She spoke slowly about life with her husband, how it was simple and straight forward. How we young people want everything..careers, family, supportive spouses, close relationships, good friends, lack of boredom, exciting holidays, amazing gifts..and the list goes on. She said we also spend a lot of time wondering and thinking 'what Ifs' which is a waste of time. Her mantra was..if you think you will be happy and you are true to yourself and to the relationship, any relationship would work. She said, things change, life moves quickly, marriage, children, jobs, locations are all a part of life and things we should learn to tackle anyways. You have to commit and not change decisions and never look back.
She went on and on about philosophy, about life, God, husbands, grand children. And I could see one thing, which she admitted herself, she had lead a long fulfilled life. She said her life had been tough, with wars and depression and uncertainity. But it was a complete one..she had ups and downs, but she had seen a lot and now was proud she got through all of it. And wished me the same. She said...
'Somewhere some special young man awaits you, you could lead a perfect life like I have, see things for what they are and look ahead, don't delay and start living! Have friends, built a home, have children and smile every day!'
As she said this I was asked her where she hid the crystal ball. Pat laughed aloud and shook all over..and so did her friends...they said..she says this to everyone she meets and managed to surprise everyone with this straight fortune telling statement..but really..a broad generalisation like this could be applicable to everyone and anyone..who is single..as is, in most cases, obvious from a lack of a ring!
It was one surreal experience for me. I must say spending a journey with someone this interesting yet predicatble was amusing. Wisdom from a wise old lady with needles and yarn!