So today I wanted to share a cute little encounter I had with an elderly lady on the train. Come to think of it now, it feels like a story that’s come straight out from a romantic film or a novel about a stylish, chic girl who lives in New York or Berlin who has their own cosy apartment with a killer view and equally killer body. Anyways…..
So i was sitting on the seats at the train station scrolling mindlessly through my social media apps (Facebook, Instagram, Tumblr, Snapchat and repeat) when I noticed a pair of eyes staring at me from my side-view. I turned to find a lady in her mid 60’s staring at me shyly as I caught her. ‘Sorry’ she murmured and smiled, her croaky voice giving away her old age and then looked back at me, her intense grey eyes sparkling, concealing the many stories and adventures she’d had throughout her life. ‘You’re a very beautiful girl’ she smiled with a streak of a Mediterranean accent. She told she was actually 83! I thanked her and gave her the biggest smile, feeling very humbled by her genuine compliment. ‘Take care of yourself yes. There are so many bad people here, so many people, boys, girls who you cannot trust’ she waved her hand. ‘You are the only person you can trust…God bless you’ she finished, smiling as she peered at me.
I thanked her once again and commented about the importance of what she said, that one really does have to be mindful of who to trust in this world. We started talking about religion, and she gave me a much needed reminder; to not forget about God and all he done for me in my life so far. She said ‘you are beautiful, because you did not forget about God. Once you forget him and all his great works, God will forget you too’. It was these wise words that made me remember the importance and sacredness of my religion, my beliefs and my devotion. Being in today’s society, we are bombarded with technological advances and we are too easily caught up in the latest celebrity trends, or stalking your friends (or should i put friends in quotation marks) that religion slips from our mind, and even from our grasp.
We started chatting about her life, me, being the curious one (per usual) was intrigued to find out her life story. I wanted to sit there forever and share her memories and experiences from long before i was born. I wanted to experience her struggles, her happiness through her story telling and understand why her eyes sparkled with such youth and how her now aging skin was once as firm and bright as a peach. She told me that she was from Syria but moved to Lebanon where ‘she loved the land, but hated the people….. we have one God, why are we constantly fighting over the same God?’
So, in 1969, she migrated to Australia with her 3 brothers (only 1 is alive today) and husband (who died 12 years ago). She reminded me of Allie from the Notebook, sharing her recollections of love as I asked eagerly how she met the love of her life. They were young, probably in their 15’s as they married when she was 16 and he was 20. She fell on the streets in public and like that, her Prince Charming arrived and swooped her off her feet. They stayed together for a happy 55(?) years. I told her that I’m glad she was able to experience true love and wish for myself to experience love the way her and her husband did. She laughed softly and said ‘Oh you will, as long as you don’t forget God, he will make sure you have everything you want’.
As the train arrived, we realised that we would be boarding the same train. I was very glad since I was still seeping with an intent desire to hear more from her. Unfortunately, since her husband died, the only family she has left is one brother. ‘God decided for me, for us, that children weren’t for us’ and my heart sunk. I truly felt such sympathy towards this beautiful soul of a woman. I imagined her with a big family celebrating traditional festivities and being surrounded by so much love and realising that this conversation was probably a rare occasion for her made my heart pound with sadness. She told me that if she had as a daughter/grand-daughter like me, she would be very happy. Once again, my insides melted and I felt for a split second that we were actually family. This kind stranger who told me such wise advice and shared with me so many intimate parts of her life genuinely wanted, I felt, the best for me. It’s hard to explain through words really…. but i wanted to tell her everything about me and ask all the questions about her. She was neatly dressed, with a prim navy polka-dotted blouse and dress, with beautiful pearl earrings that shimmered with as much life and beauty as her eyes.
For the remaining time on the train, she told me recipes on how to prepare homemade yoghurt, life in Australia back in 70’s-80’s, heightening throughout, the need to regard God and religion in your every day life. As we passed each station, I knew that this encounter with her would come to an end shortly and I felt like I was departing from a family member. I wished briefly that time stopped, or that the train would break down because as soon as I stepped off the train, the conversation and this whole situation with her would be nothing more than a memory; a memory that will be stored in my mind for many years. As I turned back to wave and smile one final time at her, I tried to grasp as much of the conversation and visual as i could. The gloomy down casting weather, the man muttering expressively to himself across from us, the way she perched herself so elegantly on the seat, the crying toddler next to me and of course, her engaging smile and grandiose stare.
It is not everyday that you get to experience such an encounter, and receive invaluable lessons and morals. I do believe in luck, magic and coincidences in meeting people, and being able to speak to this lady is too much of fate to be considered a coincidence.