On most flights, I try to divide my time between looking out the window, watching a movie or two, or reading something. A few years back, I used to read this series Seat 22B in Continental’s in-flight magazine Hemisphere. Please note that my memory is slightly hazy, so the magazine’s name might be different, or it might be the same name, except that it is found in a different carrier.
Be that as it may, I am pretty sure that the series was titled “Seat 22B” (more or less). The idea being that the author(s) would write pieces related to travel – each story would revolve around the journey of the passenger seated in seat 22B.
Anyway, in the piece I am referring to*, the passenger in the seat is a young man, returning from a backpacking tour in Europe, when he finds himself next to an elderly companion. They get to talking and the young man recounts his latest escapades in Ireland to the older person thus:
While travelling through the Irish countryside, he got caught in the rain. Thoroughly soaked and without a place to stay for the night, he found himself half delirious as he stumbled into this inn. The inn had a whole lot of Irish folks drinking and merrymaking, but he met this girl who was the barmaid. They got talking and within a few minutes were oblivious of the rest of the crowd. They talked about their childhood, their life growing up; she shared stories of how tough life was in the Irish countryside.
As time wore on, he had eyes for no one in the tavern but her. However, because of his current condition, he found himself slipping in and out of consciousness and the girl realized that he had contracted a fever. As they talked, the girl brought him brandy and wine and revived him. That night, having nowhere else to go and not being in any shape to go anywhere, he decided to stick it out in the inn. Like a typical Hindi movie of yore (say Bobby), the story does not go into any more details.
It turns out that the girl was the innkeeper’s daughter. Over the next couple of days, she nursed him back to health over the next couple of days, and when he was well enough, he took leave of her to resume his (return) journey.
All this information the young man tells his travelling companion, then also adds that he was probably in love with the girl but as she has made it clear that she was not too keen on leaving her admittedly tough life in Ireland, the relationship was not likely to proceed further. The young man was now torn by the fact that he had to come back to college to pursue his dream career; going to Ireland and living a tough life was not for him.
He then talks about how he had been excelling throughout his life, done this done that etc. and then shares with the older gentleman a piece of paper where he has jotted down his bucket list (this story was my first encounter with that term), and shows how many of them he managed to check off his list on his most recent tour.
The older man now gets to talking about how he has also accomplished quite a few things in life. It turns out that most of whatever the young man has done, the older man has done that and more. So, all in all, they have developed a mutual respect for their respective endeavors as they part to go their own ways, once they land in the USA.
A few days later, the young man receives an envelope addressed to him in a scraggly handwriting, but he recognized the names as one of the top businessman in the country. Inside the envelope was a tattered piece of paper that appeared to be a list of sorts, written in the same handwriting. Glancing at the list, he immediately realized that it was a bucket list as well. All of the items in the list appeared to have been checked off. However, upon closer examination, he noticed that one item was not checked off yet:
marry for love
Next to it, in what appeared to be a recent inscription, were the words – Will you help me complete my bucket list?
I am sure you all are wondering what suddenly jogged this story hidden in my memory? Well, here it is – the sequel, as it were, to the above story that I read a few years back! And here is a response from an anti romantic at heart! 😉
* – please note that this is my best recollection of the story (needless to say, I did not write the original). Though I’m pretty sure I have got the plot right for the most part, I am also sure that I have skimped on the details, and also might have mixed up some portions of it. It sure would be nice if the original story and author could be located so I could share a link to it for my readers here 🙂