“Don’t bother, I’ll do it!” an elderly lady said when I wanted to pick up a magazine that fell next to her. Silky white hair and wrinkled skin were indicating she was a person of certain age, but given the speed with which she bent and straightened up, I would have never said she was 92. Yes, Mrs Joan was 92.
She let me pass to my window seat and as I set down, her companion, Mrs Jenny started chatting, asking if Kuala Lumpur was my final destination. They were heading to Australia. Mrs Joan has been doing that trip for 21 years, since she moved back to England. Understandable for that age, her hearing was not the best, she had artificial hip and artificial lenses, but that didn’t stop her. She had to visit her nephews and friends.
Australia was not the only trip in her yearly schedule. Every year she’d pick an additional destination to explore. The following one planned was Southern France where her younger sister, Mrs Patricia, recently moved. For her, the trip to Southern France was “something more to look forward to…”.
Her positive spirit was absolutely infectious even though life didn’t pamper her.
She spent 30 years in Australia where she moved to work with her husband. At first they lived in a house that didn’t even have a toilet inside. But they worked and they prospered. They travelled a lot; often low budget, but they experienced the world and immediately after few minutes I knew I was talking to a fascinating, open-minded person who knew how to enjoy life.
Mrs Joan likes theatre, shopping and meeting her friends for a cup of tea. She loves Rod Stewart and has his CDs at home. Her nephews gave her a perfect gift; tickets for his concert. Needless to say, she went there and loved it.
Twinkling lights of Kuala Lumpur appeared quickly between watching movies and listening stories about an interesting life. I was looking outside when nice perfume filled the air. I turned towards Mrs Joan. She was closing a small bottle of Channel No. 5. Her white hair was combed and she put some light lipstick on. I instinctively smiled. She smiled back and said: “I am not giving up, yet, my dear.”
The moment to say goodbye arrived in Kuala Lumpur terminal building. She put her hands on my cheeks and said with a big smile and warmth in her eyes: “My dear, I am very glad to have met you. It was very nice to travel with you and I wish you lots of happiness and all the best in life.”.
Thank you, Mrs Joan. I hope I will be just like you when I get to 92.