A Small World

This happened 40 years ago, but has always stuck in my memory.

I settled into my seat with a sigh of relief. My young son curled up on the seat beside me, peering out of the grimy window. My partner was sitting behind me, asleep already, with my two-year old daughter beside him. At last I could relax from the horrendous 4 day train journey we had just undertaken from Tunis to Casablanca. I was tired of being molested by Algerian men who thought nothing of putting their hands on my thighs or brushing against my breasts despite the fact that I was travelling with my partner and with two very small children. It made no difference to them. I was not a person with feelings, I was an object of desire.

Then from behind came a hand on my shoulder. My own hand formed a fist – I was in no mood for any more physical contact. Before I could turn around I heard someone exclaim my name. As I turned my head, a face I instantly recognised appeared before me – my best friend’s ex-boyfriend, Merv from Bradford, England. I gasped, and stood up to hug him tightly. How could this even be possible? The last I had heard of him, he was in Melbourne, Australia. The last he had heard from me, I was in Johannesburg and married to an Englishman. That was two years ago. A lot had happened since.

As the bus from Casablanca to Tangiers began to shakily move off, we stood looking at each other with huge wide grins on our faces – what a serendipitous moment!

~wander.essence~  On Journey

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Heyjude

I have lived in the UK for most of my life, but when young I definitely had wanderlust and even ended up living in South Africa for several years which was a wonderful experience. I now look forward to a long and leisurely retirement doing what I like most - gardening, photography, walking and travelling.

22 thoughts on “A Small World”

  1. Random encounters abroad are strange things. We once met a couple in Greece, only to discover that they lived at the other end of the street from us in Wimbledon, and we had never seen each other before. 🙂
    Meeting your old friend was much better though.
    Best wishes, Pete. x

  2. That train journey must have been really stressful. Poor you. I love surprise encounters with friends. I remember coming down the escalator in Singapore and suddenly seeing my friend who worked at the same school where I taught music in Johannesburg.

  3. That is definitely one of those “freeze-frame” moments that stick forever in the memory! I can’t even begin to imagine how small the odds are of a meeting like that … and even more … the fact you needed to see a familiar and friendly face at that moment 💕

  4. What a great story, Jude! Isn’t it so strange, and such a coincidence, when you meet someone you know in far-flung and unlikely places? I love it. I also love how you describe all your previous encounters with brazen Algerian men, and how you were prepared to dock whoever it was who put a hand on your shoulder! I was waiting for a fight, so what a surprise to find a long-lost friend. Thanks for linking up, Jude. I’ll add this to my next journey post on March 20. 🙂

  5. And yet I’ve heard similar stories from others about meeting someone they knew in some far away land completely by chance. It’s a small world at times.

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