I recently had the luck to travel by train. Long distance — specifically, it was almost six hours. For some reason I get excited when I’m travelling; not for the craving wanderlust I have, but for the people you get to meet. There’s one thing you have to know about these people: you’re going to interact with them in the most honest way you ever have with anyone else. I am a firm believer of this; it never failed me.

It was one of those days- I knew I was going to meet someone. Male or female? This time, it was a man. He entered the wagon quietly and when he reached the point of our seats, he looked at me gently, said good morning and asked:

“Is this seat 52?”

“Yes sir, it is.”

He sat there enjoying his coffee in peace. I was staring at the view outside. We didn’t exchange another word for the next two hours- after all, we had all the time in the world. But from the moment he sat next to me, his aura was giving me a weird feeling. It wasn’t bad, it wasn’t suspicious. The feeling had a mix of pain, realization and gratefulness. This person was giving me the idea that he had been terribly hurt- but along with that, he was now standing on his own feet strongly. He had seen and realized something good, that made him appreciate everything in his world.

The view from outside was breathtaking- but it was time to read my book. As soon as I opened it, I realized that he was observing me curiously. I looked back, wondering why.

“Are you a psychologist?”

“Well, you can say that. I got my diploma rather recently.”

“You really wondered why I looked at you like that before, right? Well, here it is. You seem to be one of those people that really listens and understand others. But you know, really understands. I feel like you’ve already understood a few things about me.”

“I have, but you know, I can’t really be sure.”

“You’re right, you can’t be sure. But for some reason, I think you understood correctly. I’m Anthony by the way.”

“I’m Victoria, pleasure to meet you. But why do you say that?”

“Because I already feel relieved. It happens sometimes kid; with some people you don’t need to explain many things. They just get it- and you’re one of them. However, I need your professional help now. It concerns my daughter.”

He told me about her. His eyes had a loving glow, and a deep concern. He didn’t have to say that this concern has kept him awake for endless nights; it was evident. His little girl was suffering from Panic Disorder.

“My wife and I took Maria to the psychologist. She made the diagnosis, gave her medication and then, that was it. She never explained a damn thing to us. And I don’t know what to do. Will it be too much for you to explain the disorder simply? I really want to understand. I want to help her. I haven’t seen my girl in a year. She asked for some space from both of us. I had a really hard time being away from her in the beginning. But then I realized, I was trying to help her the way I thought was right. I wasn’t listening to her. It almost tore us apart.”

I tried my best to explain every single thing about the problem. I also offered Maria’s point of view, for him to see what it’s like from her side. I was really happy to see the relief in his face after I was done.

“I honestly thank you for this. And now I realize what an idiot I was for pressuring her to talk to me, when all she wanted was to be alone and calm down. I was so stupid and selfish, I thought only my way is the correct one. This is the reason why my wife and I grew apart. And I don’t like that. We have a son as well, I didn’t tell you before. I just want my family back.”

“I know what you mean. All of us fall into the trap of thinking our way is the best way. The vital thing is, to realize it and consider other people as well. You already do that sir.”

“Today is the first time in a year that I’ll see my girl. I want to show her, not only that I value her and love her, but that I consider her as well. I respect her wishes more than ever now. But I want to show that to my wife too. I want to sit down, take her hand, caress it and tell her first that I love her and that I’m sorry for all the mess I’ve caused; I was stubborn. And I want my son to see it too. I want to be a better man for him, to show him the way. I have missed out so many things with all of them, and it hurts that I can’t take it back. But hey, I can see now that it isn’t too late to make the change. I don’t want to risk cutting all ties between us, I want to make this right. They are my home.”

“I’ll say only this. You’re on the right track, I know you’ll make it. Go and get them.”

Still today, I think about what he said. I can only hope now, that he has them back and he’s truly happy. But most of all, I hope he is serene- he deserves that peace he lost way back.

Author: Victoria A. Dimou

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