The Journey

Time to get on a plane. Well, actually a plane, a couple of trains and a few automobiles.

On a trip like this, I usually book ahead. But not really possible. A few hours ahead isn’t really ‘ahead’.

I packed as I booked the plane.

I decided to hold off on trains - electing to sort it out when I got to the station - and then just get the ‘next one’.

A car picked me up. The plane was on time. The flight was uneventful. Caught the first train and on arrival at the main station, bought my ticket for the long rail journey.

The price reminded me why I book ahead and avoid rush hour. No matter. I looked at the clock. The train was due to leave at 6:00. It was 5:40. Time to get something to eat and drink for the journey. Success. Scurrying across the station towards the train - noting I had 10 minutes left.

I got to the platform and realized that I didn’t know which carriage / seat I was in. I stopped to check. Detail confirmed. I got to the carriage. Got on the train. Parked my case and sat down. I looked at my watch … 5:59 and sure enough, the train gently moved away from the platform.

It was approximately 30 minutes later that the ticket inspector asked for my ticket. I didn’t have it. I searched everywhere. Nada.

“Sorry - no - just a receipt is not enough, you need the actual ticket.”

I couldn’t provide it. I had to buy another one.

It was around 15 minutes later that the call came.

“Sorry. I wanted to let you know that he has passed away. So sorry.”

What time was that? Sorry, we can’t be exactly sure, but it was within a few of minutes of 6:50. (Subsequent conversations and triangulation, leads me to believe that it was actually 6:56)

Who knows the exact time. It doesn’t matter. What I do know that he died just as I lost my train ticket .. for the first time in my life.

I later recounted the story and the coincidence to my daughter.

“Oh Dad … that wasn’t a coincidence … he was just letting you know that he had moved on and there wasn’t a need to rush. You didn’t need a ticket right then. Whenever you got there would have been just fine.”

February 3, 2019