Thursday, August 13, 2009
Late afternoon in August we wedged our persons into one corner of an empty train carriage, wrapped arms around enormous articles of luggage. We slid from the railway station and watched, deliberately, as the town began to melt from our sight.
Not for us the anxious question of the front door having been locked, nor the fretful uncertainty of whether appliances had been properly unplugged. In all the world we could lay claim to no door. Our belongings had been thoroughly detached from their respective electrical sockets, bound, as were Spouse and I, thousands of miles westward.
With no fixed abode and nothing certain before us, we allowed the town to dwindle corner by corner, retreating from the familiar streets amid a painter's palette of thoughts and whirlwind possibilities.
Two weathered fellows soon made themselves comfortable in our compartment. They bore the dismayed, tangled hair of the homeless- still, who were we to remark on such things?- and threadbare, grubby vests through which peeked vast expanses of haggard skin.
I imagined we gave the impression of being on vacation; but our fellow travellers understood, inexplicably, that we were going far and would not return. A spirited conversation blossomed.
"You're doing a great thing. I bet," one neighbour jabbed a finger at us, "I bet you're making the best decision you ever made." His eyes were alight with the thrill of it all, and he sounded convinced of the words.
His companion nodded, and slurped from a paper cup. "I couldn't do what you're doing. Never. You guys have got bananas."
"Bananas," the first echoed soundly. "Yup. Plenty of bananas."
Over and over the raggedy companions assured us of our boldness, and of the rightness of our boldness, and that we were in possession of a healthy supply of bananas.
Our paths at last had to diverge. Shouts of good luck and take care and scraps of advice tumbled with us onto the platform as we hauled the burdensome bags to the next segment of our adventure.
With the fervent well-wishes of strangers, and the proverbial bananas- a dash of courage enough to set out on some railway tracks and leave the known world behind- with these our journey could begin in earnest.
Posted by Phyllis Hunt McGowan at 11:50 AM