The Honking Goose

something to honk about

missed connection on a train in Europe

Yesterday I shared with you a story of a stranger’s missed connection. Today I will tell you about my own.

First the back story: Sadly, my mother died of cancer when I was 19. She had always helped focus and encourage me and without her I was adrift. I decided to change universities and to take a semester off in between. I worked for my dad over the summer, saved money, and I took a six week trip to Europe, in winter, during my semester off. I was 20 by then. I met up with my best girlfriends who were studying abroad in Spain. I then traveled alone to Paris, France, and to visit a male friend who was studying in Sweden. Then I joined up with my girlfriends in Amsterdam for a weekend after which I traveled by myself again by train to Italy.

swiss alps covered in snow

I got on a train in Germany and rode overnight to Italy. I fell asleep on the train and when I woke up early in the morning we were going through the Swiss Alps. There was these incredible high, steep peaks covered in snow all around us as the train sped on by. It was like waking up in a fairy tale. Across the aisle from me were a group of four Italian men who had boarded sometime while I was asleep. They were a little older than me, maybe five or ten years older. One of them was watching me very intently.

I smiled at him. His buddies were joking, in Italian, about the attention he was giving me. We quickly understood that they knew no English and I knew no Italian. So this handsome young man with this broad smile began to sing to me. I don’t know what the words were, but it felt like a love song. My heart expanded like a balloon. I had just woken up in the train against this stunning backdrop of the snow covered Alps and now this strong, ruddy Italian was singing me a song in a language I didn’t understand, but my heart felt like it knew the meaning exactly.

When we reached Italy’s border, some guards came on board the train. They searched the bags of the young Italians. They all smiled at me, the young men on the train, and showed that they were unworried, they didn’t have anything contraband, and ‘whatever’ about their bags being searched. I smiled back and acted nonchalant while my stomach was clenched in fear. I didn’t know how thorough this search was going to be.

train passing by snow covered mountains

Little did my new friends know, but I had several grams of marijuana and psilocybin mushrooms from Amsterdam. Thankfully they were all on my person (in my pants at that very moment, to be exact) and not in my backpack. But none of my things were searched anyway. And so when the train pulled away from the border station, I sighed with relief.

You may judge me and say it was stupid for me to be crossing borders with those things, but I never regretted it, except for that very brief moment when I thought there was a chance I would be found out. It was well worth the trouble later in my trip when I ate magic mushrooms at the famous Park Guell, designed by Gaudi, in Spain. The park is a mushroom trip on it’s own, even when you are sober. But that is another story…

So there I was on the train with this adoring young Italian across from me and we were all headed to Milan, which was my destination at the time. But now comes the heartbreak. As was my plan, I disembarked in Milan. The Italians stayed on the train and pulled away without me. I had nothing and nobody in Milan. It was my plan to sight see in the famous city, but as soon as that train left the station, I knew I should have stayed on it. I should have followed them wherever they were going. I had nowhere else I really needed to be and I could have come back to Milan afterwards.

They probably went to some little Italian village where I could have had a really authentic experience of Italy with my new suitor. But I missed my chance. I knew immediately from the ache in my soul that I had made a crucial mistake. But it was too late. The most romantic thing that had ever happened to me, and I let it slip away. So I will always wonder. And wish for what could have been.

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36 comments on “missed connection on a train in Europe

  1. Annabel
    November 14, 2014

    What a lovely story…..did you make up for it in Milan ? It’s a beautiful city, I visited there earlier this year.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 14, 2014

      Milan was beautiful, but I was in a funk. I had the best time of all in Barcelona. It was a great trip.

      Like

  2. NicoLite Великий
    November 5, 2014

    I should really start singing to foreign girls on long-distance trains…

    Like

  3. aquacompass7
    November 5, 2014

    thank you for following my blog. I came from Japan.

    Like

  4. hya21
    November 5, 2014

    Great story. I wrote a post several months ago entitled “what if?” that dealt with the subject of what might have been – because the choices we make now result in where we end up later on – even if the choices are not as obvious as the one in this story.
    But commenter sonmicloud has it right too.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 5, 2014

      That’s why I like the idea of parallel universes where all those ‘what if’s’ have a chance to play themselves out. 🙂

      Like

  5. dougdorda
    November 4, 2014

    What I find most fascinating about this tale, is that it reveals something truly wonderful about the human condition. There you were, amidst the throngs of Europe immersed in things you did not know, yet your most vivid recollection is that of a romance that never even came to pass. Perhaps this ought to be celebrated, the fact that our kinds can compose something so beautiful that it outshines the landscape surrounding us. Tis better to have thought of love than never to have thought at all.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 4, 2014

      That is such a lovely way to look at it. Very interesting. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.:D

      Like

  6. christianliving2014
    November 3, 2014

    I’m sorry about your mom. It sounds like a great adventure!

    Like

  7. divorcedandsingleblog
    November 3, 2014

    Such a lovely story. I wonder what would have happened. Maybe you would be living in Italy now.

    Like

  8. sonmicloud
    November 3, 2014

    Ah no regrets, no, the boys could well have been idiots who ruined your holiday just as much as ones who would have made it something lovelier, think more on the marvellous trip trip itself and having been to Guell Park myself, I can appreciate just how amazing it must have been on mushrooms! Ha.

    – sonmi upon the Cloud.

    Like

  9. Bruce Thiesen
    November 3, 2014

    Sometimes, planning and plans get in the way.

    Like

  10. Very Bangled
    November 3, 2014

    Ah, to be 20 and traveling! Let me finish your story for you, tho…. Mine was similar, met a guy, quickly separated by distance while traveling but then we decided yo rendez-vous in Berlin. Where what at first was charming and quirky, quickly developed into dreadful and tedious. I mean who says there are too many Holocaust museums, huh?? And then farts in your presence at a restaurant? Boorish Europeans, that’s who. So treasure the magical what could have happened imaginings, because the luster wears off of reality.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 3, 2014

      Thank you, those are the words a woman needs to hear! The brief relationships that I did engage in during those six weeks were uniformly disappointing, so it is best to assume that this one would have been as well. And I can forever remember only the beautiful beginning of something. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Yoshiko
    November 3, 2014

    Even I ever miss the lost opportunities.

    Like

  12. annj49
    November 3, 2014

    When these things happen in my life, I choose to rest in the fact that God is sovereign. There is nothing that is by chance or accidental, so whatever that thing was that happened, it was meant for that moment only, unless God shows me it again. I think God is good and will not withhold anything good from me that was meant for me. It’s a matter of trusting Him for my life and being content in my circumstances.

    I’m learning to appreciate and savour those special moments as gifts in time, which, even if they don’t come again, can be taken as opportunities to remember that person, to pray for that person, because it’s not by chance we met, and to be thankful for it, because it was a gift from God. I understand the poignancy, but I see the hope and the opportunity.

    It’s a lovely story to treasure in your heart! I bet he remembers you too ❤

    Thanks for sharing!

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 3, 2014

      I have always believed that everything happens for a reason. Even if I don’t understand what it is. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. John
    November 3, 2014

    A great read, I totally understand you. And this will haunt you all of your days. I know from experience… She is the one I let slip away.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 3, 2014

      There is nothing to do but live with this special,, precious kind of sorrow tucked away inside.

      Like

  14. toddmedicii
    November 3, 2014

    Small thing’s like that really tug at my heart. You both have an entire story of how and why you’re on that train and the fact you both managed to cross paths to unfortunately never see each other again is so devastating, and even more so for you I’m sure.

    Like

    • thehonkinggoose
      November 3, 2014

      Even today, happily married with two wonderful children, the pain of not knowing tears at my heart. It is really one of only a couple of choices in my life that I truly regret.

      Liked by 1 person

      • toddmedicii
        November 3, 2014

        I sometimes regret my keep-to-myself behavior in public, because I never know if recommending a book to someone I see holding in a store could be the start of some fantastic Nicholas Sparks romance.

        Like

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This entry was posted on November 3, 2014 by in Love, Personal and tagged , , , , , , , , , , .
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