‘We are in France you know?!’ I said to my other half who was sitting beside me in a random cafés courtyard. I could feel the sun piercing through my skin. The feeling was great and rare considering this was Scotland! We sat there for a long time enjoying the sun, the fresh air, life and the ice cubes I had in my drink (I like to play with my ice!). We said goodbye to the cheery staff working there and hit the road.
We were on a country road of National Speed Limit but the vehicles in front of us were doing 30mph. I wondered what was going on. My other half said that an elderly person was ahead of us. Right after he said that, the 2 vehicles that were infront of us overtook the slow vehicle. My other half put the car on sports mode and sped up. When we were right beside the slow car, I looked over. It was driven by an elderly lady and her husband. I said to my other half that I will never have the heart to overtake elderly people. He said that it’s needed for ours and other road user’s safety. This was how it all started and somehow we got on to the next topic: getting or giving lift to a stranger (and elderly people). My other half concluded by saying that he probably will give lifts but not take lifts from strangers.
The tree leaves that were shining under the sun rays, the rivers, the mountains…we enjoyed heaven on earth in silence. Our favourite music when we drive around Scotland was on repeat. Whilst we were passing through a beautiful place called Aberfoyle, we saw an elderly man standing at the side waving his hand at us. Approximately 10 feet away from the man, my other half stopped the car. He said to me, ‘you will feel bad if we don’t give him a lift’. I smiled at him and got out of the car. The man came running to us. He said we were very kind. I offered him the passenger seat and jumped to the backside. The 20-30 minutes journey after that was something I won’t ever want to forget. It was not an extraordinary experience but was a special one for me. The elderly man talked, I talked (surprise surprise!!) and my other half talked (with a little bit reluctance at first). We talked about places, people and life in general. The man said to me that I’ve picked up a Scottish accent after my 4 years of Uni in Scotland (wasn’t surprised or shocked at that!)
He talked about his experiences of going around the world. I asked him questions, he asked us questions. He asked my other half how his romance was. My other half answered by saying that’s its good. The old man tried to turn around and ask me the same. I said it’s not too bad. He said to me ‘ I wish I was 50 years younger and you were a little older’. I laughed at it and did not dare to look over my other half.
We continued talking. I asked him about why he was out there. When the man answered that he goes around different places in Scoltand everyday, my other half took over from me and asked him whether people often stop when he asks for lifts. The man stated that Scottish people are often good and that he has a beggars face so they stop. I said that he has got a lovely face and that’s why we stopped. He laughed, looking around and said ‘I wish you were single ”. I couldn’t help but laugh. I said to the man that he wouldn’t wish the same once he gets to know me and said that the man sitting beside him was about to throw me out his car earlier on for being nasty to him. And my other half, on the other hand, looked a little annoyed at the second time when the old man tried to hit on his girlfriend. The man laughed and asked me ‘so what about your boyfriend? What does he do?’. With a little embarrassment, I pointed at my other half and said ‘that’s my boyfriend’. The look on the man’s face, I will never forget! He was so embarrassed. He said he thought that we were siblings. My other half, being the lovely person he was, tried to ease the tension by saying we do look alike (!).
The journey continued. So did the conversations. I asked him several questions. He answered all of them. One of which was about was his ex fiancé. He told us that he once was engaged to be married. But the girl didn’t want to leave her family and he said that his apartment was not suitable for the lady. They called off the wedding and the lady got married off to someone else after 4 months. The man reassured us that he never regretted it. When I asked him if he kept in touch with her after marriage, he said it wasn’t right so he didn’t. I asked him again ‘did you say you didn’t regret it?’ He answered ‘oh no, I never did’.
My other half was kind enough to drop the man off near his destination even though that was not the direction we were heading to. The man got out of the car. I did too. Giving a pat on my back, he whispered to me ‘I really wish you were single dear’. I laughed again, giving him one of my special smiles I said, ‘I wish so too’.We said our Goodbyes.
My other half believes that was the voice of lonely man who lost the love of his life. I believe that was the voice of a man who is a little lonely, who is deprived of human warmth and love, but is someone who takes life as it comes, enjoys life, and tries his best to be happy. I silently wished him all the best and happiness in the world. I did regret not giving him a hug but I hope he somehow felt how wonderful and joyous it was for us to meet an inspiring person like him.