Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Peace Train

I sailed into the city on the Go Train. I like to mosey so I arrived at the station early and strolled along to the end of the platform past the usual waiting area. When the double-decked carriage, painted green and white, pulled up along the tracks and skreeeeked (as only a train can) to a stop, the automatic door swished opened and I climbed aboard. I sat down on one of the blue cushioned benches and cozied myself. I love travelling by train.

A pleasant looking woman sat an airy distance away from me across a wide, centre aisle. She was gripping a book close to her face, intently reading the last pages of an apparent spellbinder. Nearby, an abandoned newspaper was haphazardly piled on the floor and I went over to retrieve it. As I bent down, the woman looked up and smiled a hello my way. I smiled back, made the casual remark, "May as well put it to good use", gave a friendly nod, and returned to my seat with paper in hand. In that instant, I was sure she was on her way to the same engagement I was. I thought to ask but let it go when I saw she had quickly resumed reading.

Not really in the mood for news, I half-glanced through the paper a page or two at a time, folded it up and placed it neatly on the seat beside me. A young family with toddler and baby in tow, rolled their stroller into position and parked themselves and all their gear in the seats behind the Book Lady. Another young family entered the train through a second door. Each parent carefully, yet firmly, held a hand of the sweet little pre-schooler who walked between them. They took seats side-by-side, and their daughter cuddled up nicely on mama’s lap.

Seconds before the train was to depart, an aging woman with a youthful stride came bouncing into the car and sat across from me in the seat paired with mine. Grinning, we greeted each other as seating partners do and she then leaned forward, picked up the paper and settled in.

A bubbling festivity filled the air. Most of the travellers were on their way to a day at the Ex and the joyful anticipation was palatable. The children were wiggle-toes excited. The one little girl (seated behind Book Lady) chattered away in English while the other little girl (now seated between her parents) chattered away in Mandarin (or perhaps Cantonese). To engage her daughter’s attention, the english-speaking mother began to sing the nursery song, ‘Head, Toes, Eyes and Nose’ - a catchy silly song with hand actions. Each time, the song finished with a giggle before it started all over again and I found myself silently joining in, smiling along.

All the while, I was watching the other little girl. She now sat poker-straight, straining to hear the distant voices. Her eyes grew wide with recognition and, suddenly, mid-song she began to sing too - every other word in a wee tentative voice until her confidence grew to full swing pitch. Her parents glanced at each other in surprise and then beamed with delight.
In this exquisite moment, riding the train, I danced the light of sweet innocence.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Wandering Willow said...

What fun! I look forward to hearing about wherever you all went that day.

21:15  
Blogger Gemma Grace said...

Willow, you are very astute!! When I first began, my original intent was to write about where I went that day. :) The post became so long that I left it as is. However, here is a snippet version of where I went that day.

I was on my way to a day's seminar with Caroline Myss (see www.myss.com). Several interesting things happened...

This really made me laugh. As you may know, Caroline Myss has worked a lot with archetypes. (If you'd like, you can read about it on her website.) The seminar was held at the Metro Convention Centre in Toronto. It is a huge facility. On the walk from the train station to the centre, I saw all sorts of Trekkies dressed up in elaborate costumes. There was a Star Trek convention going on at the same time and in the same building as the Myss seminar. All the Klingons and company looked like living, breathing archetypes. It just struck me as surreal funny, as if Caroline Myss had invited them along.

A second 'I love how life works' kind of funny thing... When I was on the train, about halfway during the trip, I moved to another section of the car to make room for new passengers. I eventually disembarked at Toronto's main station, Union Station, with a throng of hurried travellers. The walk through the station took about 10 minutes. Just before I left the station, I thought I would go into the washroom and, just as I entered, I met the Book Lady (from the train) who was washing her hands. We both recognized each other immediately and laughed. I asked her if she was going to see Caroline Myss and she was. She said that she had had a feeling about me too. We quickly parted ways as she was meeting a friend.

There was another hour or so before the seminar began. I walked to the convention centre, following a convoluted path, and found my way to where the seminar was to be held. I signed in and then stood near the beginning of the line to await entrance.

After about 20 minutes, the doors opened. The room was huge and I walked way across to the empty chairs on the opposite side and chose an aisle seat about 25 rows from the front. The crowd of about 1000 attendees started to flow in. A delightful young woman sat down nearby and we talked intently for a good 10 minutes. When I finally looked up, there was the Book Lady sitting in the row in front of me and over a couple of seats. Just then, she turned around, saw me and 'screamed', "I can't believe it. I was just telling my friend about you." We decided it was indeed destiny that we meet, she gave me her card and invited me to call her sometime.

During the lecture, Caroline Myss talked at length about the significance of so-called chance meetings. (another smile)

Then, after it was all over, I talked a little more to the Book Lady, said our good-byes and we went on our separate ways. I wandered around busy, busy down-town Toronto for about an hour and a half before I went to catch the early evening train.

As I entered the station, I thought I'd stop in at the same washroom I had visited that morning. (There are many washrooms in Union Station. Union Station is very large.) I walked up to the wide, doorless entrance into the washroom and there was Book Lady and her friend arriving at the very same moment and the very same spot as I was. In fact, had I not looked up, we would have bumped into each other. We were dumbfounded and we could not stop laughing. Imagine, we ran into each other four times over the span of about 8 hours and about 120 square miles!

Now the icing on the cake for me was, when I left Book Lady for the last time and went back through the station to the GO Train departure area, I ran into the lady who had originally sat with me on the GO train (I wrote about her in my post) 8 hours earlier. (BTW, when I last saw her, she had got off the train at the Ex - not at Union Station.) She was friendly and told me that she had gone to Church after spending the day at the Ex and that she was now on her way home. I felt like it was old home week! I was giddy with laughter when I tried to explain my meeting Book Lady all day. Perplexed, she looked at me as though I was a little crazy and quickly left. LOL

Now, how's that for so-called chance meetings?

22:40  

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