Travelling back from London last week, I landed at Glasgow on time so knew I had 30 minutes to kill until I was getting picked up. Plenty of time for a coffee and to continue reading the book that had held me engrossed for the short flight.
Seating was at a premium, but I spotted a low, comfy looking seat over by the window, across from a man who was sitting quietly, staring out the window. I enquired if the seat was taken, he assured me it wasn’t.
I sat down and, as I tipped some sugar into my coffee he turned to me and asked where I was going.
“Ohh I’m actually just back from London, just waiting on getting picked up. You?”
“I’m waiting too, my wife lands in three hours and I know I’m a bit early but I’ve not seen her three months as she couldn’t get a work permit”, he said.
And so I found myself chatting to a complete stranger about how he had travelled to China to receive treatment for a rare disease, a disease that had brought about the end of his 15 year long marriage, and how he had met and fallen for one of the nurses who had cared for him whilst he was there.
He was very open, talking about how close to death he had been, about his divorce, and about how excited he was to be seeing his new wife again. He talked with passion about China, the people and the culture, he talked with fondness about his wife, and his ex-wife, he told me about how his sons had been accepting and understanding, and the whole time he smiled.
I don’t know his name. I don’t know if his wife’s plane landed on time, I don’t know if his disease will kill him in the next few years, or whether he will out live me.
But I like to think she turned up and they are as happy as he looked that day when he was talking to me.