I didn’t mean to get the taxi. I never go by paid travel means unless I am in London or travelling by -hideously expensive- petrol car. It was a bright, sunny day, my bike was sitting neatly by the standard rental house magnolia wall, ready for the taking, what was I thinking? It pained me to think of the pounds per second, if I were to get this blue cab. But I had to, because otherwise I’d be late. Humph.
“I’m off to a funeral later.”
“Oh no, I’m sorry.”
“My first sweetheart’s sister.”
“Where is the funeral?”
“Shepton Mallet. We all got together you see, from the internet, we found each other. Had a big old meal because..”
We discussed everything it seemed in those ten minutes. From death, to publishing, magazines, religion, crosswords, reading, education and his sweethearts. I love it when I hear a man, an older man, refer to his ‘sweetheart’. Isn’t it warming? Makes me think of dances on wooden floors, floral dresses and combed hair. When the hold of a nipped in waist made hearts pound so loudly they’d each fear it would be felt at the end of their finger tips. They connected on such a level, energy pounced with every step. Spinning around the dance hall, eyes for one, all focus on the sweetheart.
As we meandered through the streets of Bristol I heard and chatted in a car with a stranger about personal truths, as well as openly discussing values and beliefs. The thoughts were simplified into straighter statements, but we held onto topics and circled around them, clarifying points with ourselves. It was a proper conversation with someone I will probably only meet once in my life. With no motive or desired outcome, it was utterly free.
I left feeling engaged and positive. Reflective about the kindness of strangers and with fresh conviction to talk to all whose path we cross. Some may be bad, some good and some may leave you an ounce happier, or sadder. But feeling something is good. People are interesting and you couldn’t possibly predict where you’ll find a gem.
We thanked each other when I shut the taxi door, both of us said it had been lovely to have shared these ten minutes, speaking the truths that sit within us and interacting as humans should. Friends and strangers.