His name was George Kindbray. He was British and a white man in his early seventies. It was in 1981, the year of Royal Wedding, that I met him and his wife Alice while on a conducted tour of Belgium, Netherlands and Luxemburg.
I first saw them as they entered the British Rail car at London Victoria en route to Dover. We just exchanged smiles. We got acquainted on the ferry from Dover to Ostend. We got closer to each other when George protested to the tour organizers for putting me up in lower-end hotel while all others in the group were given 3-star accommodations. He implied racial discrimination. Kindbrays were the ones who gave me company all through the trip while others dithered.
Alice once called me on the phone and asked me to come over. For, George had an aggravation of his cervical spondylosis. I gave him pain killers and advised him to wear the collar all the time.
George invited me for tea the next day at his hotel. I got to know them much better. I learnt that they were married for fifty years and had no children. ‘We had a son,” George told me. ‘But he died early. If he were alive he would have been as old as you are now,” he said wistfully. We looked into each others eyes. A bond was cemented.
Back at Victoria station after the tour, we bade each other farewell. ‘Son,” said George ‘may be we will meet sometime in future.” Was there a hint of tear in his eyes?
Ten years later, I wrote to George. A month afterwards, I received a letter from sister Dorothy. My letter had reached a week after George had passed away. Dorothy also informed me that Alice had died a year earlier and George went down-hill since then.
What made me write to George at that time? Was it a telepathic message? Did George remember me just before he died? I will never know.