Saturday, October 25, 2008

Strangers in the Night

Chester Campbell’s post describing a hotel robbery during a convention gave me pause. I tramped through some pretty exotic places during my traveling years, sometimes with a group, sometimes alone. I was careful (usually), and I was never afraid.

Looking back, I don’t know whether I was just lucky, or whether a whole platoon of guardian angels went into action every time I started packing a suitcase.

Anyone old enough to remember the 1940 movie WATERLOO BRIDGE? Or maybe you’ve seen it on cable TV late some night. A real tear-jerker, with Robert Taylor and Vivien Leigh as star-crossed lovers during World War I. I don't remember when or where I saw it, but it left a lasting impression.

I associate it with a brief, bright memory of London, on a night when our tour group visited a wine bar located in a boat docked on the River Thames. At some point I went outside for fresh air, and stood at the bridge railing to look across the black water at lights on the other side.

I was lost in thought, remembering that old movie, oblivious to the world around me. I dug a cigarette out of my purse, put it between my lips, and click! There was a man standing beside me, lighting my cigarette. I have no idea where he came from. I didn’t hear him walk up. There was just a quick glimpse of his face in the flame from the lighter. Then he tipped his hat, and strolled off across the bridge.

It was right out of an old movie—lucky for me, not a movie about Jack the Ripper.

1 comment:

Jean Henry Mead said...

Beautiful picture of the bridge, Pat. You wouldn't dare travel alone around the world anymore, unfortuntely, but what great memories to look back on. :)