Last week I went for a train ride. Alan asked me why. “You don’t do trains.” He is correct, I don’t do trains.
Personal challenge.” was my reply. It was something I’d been slowly building to, an experience I wanted to share with my friend Laurent. He and I share a fondness for trains – mine so long as I’m not on one – and now every time I hear the lonely whistle as they pass by each day, I think of him. As opposite happens often in my life, we each hear that sound through different emotions. The trains excite him and bring joy, whereas they leave me melancholy.
Laurent and I have spent time together walking in parks or downtowns, taking in the crisp fall air that soon gave way to bright tinsel and ornamented trees. We have these long remarkable talks about love, food, philosophy and the state of the world. He has filled a void in me at a time that I find myself losing friends again to death or to life or wherever it is that lost friends go.
It’s been an isolated holiday season this year. I haven’t had the heart to give to things I ordinarily do. Charity and kindness has been a struggle – not because I feel callous but because I feel I’ve not much left to give. A year ago, I nearly died. Being allergic to the sun had caught up to me at last. A seemingly benign blister beneath my breast contracted a deadly infection and it had to be carved out with a scalpel. My life going forward will be a vulnerable one as I am apparently susceptible now to such things.