I sit in your seat on the train by accident, carelessly not checking if it has been reserved. You’re very sweet about it, and offer to take the one next to me instead, despite me claiming the prime window territory. I point out I’m getting off at the next station, and you can have your seat back then and we settle into our respective locations with a smile.
We sit in silence for a while; me staring out the window and you rustling with some paperwork. I notice you’re reading a booklet about dietary advice, and I notice you sighing as you turn the pages, your worn hands shaking a little as your turn the page. You want to talk and I am a willing recipient of attempts at conversation. We try a few topics; my living in Bristol, your love of cricket, the coldness of the train station, but none quiet stick.
You tell me that you’re struggling to eat well since your wife has died, that you struggle to eat vegetables beyond carrots, potatoes and beans. 59 years and 7 months you were married for. You briefly make eye contact as you tell me how she had dementia for the last few years.
I tell you I’m sorry to hear that, and I mean it. I can see the sadness in your eyes for a moment, but they brighten when you tell me that you recently met a woman. Her name is Rosemary, and you tell me how you met; that the moment you saw her you knew she was the one, the same as with your wife. She’s 10 years younger than your 88 years you tell me with a smile. You’re going on holiday to Shetland together in a few weeks time, a place you’ve been before but she never has. And you speak on the phone every morning at 8am.
It brings tears to my eyes, to hear you talk of the wife you loved and lost, and the woman you love and have found. You’ve got things pretty good, you admit, as I get up for my stop. Yes Stanley, you have.