“Life’s too short…”
How many times do we have to hear those words before we actually listen to them?
They usually follow a monologue about how a young life is no more, or a tragic circumstance headlines a daily read – but I tell you what, I got a rude awakening today – not by a sudden death or by some irrelevant tragedy, but on the train home tonight.
I’ve been travelling on the train now for some XX years, and by doing so have got pretty familiar with the tannoy voices and their various announcements. The fellow frequent travellers - commuters lost in iPod-dom. The friends who do not follow you on Twitter – the friends that have no facebook wall – the friends that, well aren’t really friends. Merely platform furniture that you become acquainted with.
A smile here, a nod there. A “bloody trains…” here, and a “it’s ridiculous this…” there, soon start to bond the platform posse.
Anyway I digress. There was one such person that I would nod to, occasionally bid good morning to, and on the famous ’last trains home’ would often share a few slurred words about the beauty of Guinness.
The last time I saw him was about the end of the Summer. He used to sit in a sharp suit, focused on some paperback or other, and whilst reading would spin his wedding ring around between his fingers.
He used to.
Tonight I saw him again. But he wasn’t there.
Tonight there was no smart suit, no book in his hands and most apparent, no ring on his finger. There was a lady next to him though that wiped his mouth for him as he stared blankly across the carriage - his mind in a completely different place. I don’t know what has happened to him, and God help him, he’s in not fit state to tell me. And if I’m honest - I’m not sure I really want to know.
What I am sure of is that by seeing him again tonight I’ve realised yet again - that life’s too short. We dont know what's around that corner, and we really don’t have time to stand around waiting for things to happen.
I hope I remember that tomorrow.