Saturday morning. A gorgeous, warm, sunny, summery day, one of those I almost forgot I live in this country.
9:50am and I’m on the train. The lack of sleep and a few drinks the night before have taken their toll and I am exhausted but so happy I’m about to spend the day with my best friend exploring Oxford.
The train is packed (glad I decided to reserve a seat). I’m trying and failing miserably to take a selfie so I just put my music on and enjoy the sun lightly burning my skin. I don’t mind. I’ll the take the sunshine any day.
Just after the Winchester stop, a sweet, elder lady gets on the train and sits next to me. White curly short hair, glasses, a floral dress and a huge smile. She seemed so kind and lovely, sometimes I can tell straight away, I got a strong urge to start a conversation, though I was painfully aware that it might backfire, people are not always that friendly at this neck of the woods.
I’m so happy I did. We ended up chatting until she got off the train. It felt so easy and natural, as if we’ve known each other for years. I straight away explained why I was tired, where I was going and why and ended up telling her about my plans and dreams and hopes for the immediate future and she told me about her life (she was heading to her mother in law to look after her for the day and relieve her husband), her travels in America back in the 80s and she reassured me without realising that I’m doing the right thing.
She told me: “Go, travel, see the world. I didn’t meet my husband until I was 36 and had my children in my late thirties. Enjoy life whilst you can.“
Just before she got off, I asked her what her name was.
‘Helen’ she said.
‘Eleni, which is Helen in Greek. So lovely to meet you.’ I replied.
‘Lovely to meet you too dear’, she replied. She wished me the very best for the future and I felt she meant every word. She wasn’t just being polite. She actually meant it.
How often does it happen to meet a stranger you connect straight away, who as a Deus Ex Machina (απο μηχανής Θεός), a fairy Godmother re-assured me I’m actually doing the right thing, leaving my job and taking a leap of faith?
After she left I couldn’t stop thinking how many amazing, incredible humans, everyday heroes like her I’ll meet on my travels.
I’ll always remember Helen as a fairy Godmother who decided to pay me a visit to cheer me on and remind me to always believe that something wonderful is about to happen.