2010-01-22 Fucking Freaky - Journal Entry

by Matt Triewly

Last night (or early morning) I dreamt about a former conductor, Peter, who used to work on the buses - I also dreamt about meeting another former employee, Richard but I can't fully recall the details of that as it seemed to fade out. Anyway, in the dream I was in Shanklin and I had bumped into Peter who looked younger and quite sprightly. I told him that he looked good and he had informed me that he'd kicked his alcohol problem and had got over his emotional trauma. I'd genuinely felt pleased for him.

In reality Peter had left the Company several years ago. He had lived with his father for many years till his father died which had quite shaken him. After a bit Peter took his PCV and transferred to driving buses, which he never really got on with. He also came out of the closet and confessed to being gay for which everybody held him in respect.

Unfortunately his mental problems began to weigh heavily on him and as a consequence he began to take increasing refuge in drink. He suffered two minor strokes from which he fully recovered but had nevertheless lost his job - he was in his mid-fifties. His behaviour gradually became increasingly erratic and he could be angry and aggressive. He got into a few scrapes with some of the employees and was banned from travelling for a bit. But the last time I spoke to him he seemed okay...

Anyway, I have been in most of the day sorting out my stories and catching up on chores. About half three I decided that despite the weather I would get out for a bit. I made myself a flask of tea and prepared a roll with the idea of having a leisurely stroll along the seafront. However by the time I got down to the Esplanade the rain had become quite heavy. Seeing a train at the top of the pier I'd thought, I'll get on that, I have free travel, keep out of the rain and maybe drop off at Lake, walk along the cliffs and perhaps have my food and drink in a shelter.

Bad move.

Having got off at Lake I discover there are no shelters so I walk all the way in the wet to Shanklin and finally have my tea on the seafront in a shelter there.

I then walk back up the hill, soaked to the skin, to the railway station and catch the 1718 back to Ryde.

At Ryde St John's Road station Richard gets on and sits next to me. Richard worked for the Company for many years but got out early as he is fairly well off. He is also an 'anorak' who has written several books about the Island buses. Not to be outdone I have written a humorous short story about him, but that's by the way. Coincidentally Richard and Peter are the same age - sixty-one.

Richard informs me that several bus staff have passed away recently, and then says, "I got a phone call from the police this morning. They told me that Peter had been found dead in his flat and mine was the only phone number they could find - I'd been round to visit him a few weeks ago. He was in a bit of a state to be honest when I saw him. He also confessed to me that he had made a complete mess of his life. What could I say?"

What indeed could he say?

But as he had told me this I had experienced one of those chilling spine tingling moments.

Naturally I couldn't say anything about the dream for fear of being branded crazy or a bullshitter. But I realized in that instance that maybe there is more to this world than meets the eye, I mean, I have never dreamed of the fellow before so why now on the very day that he dies?

I suppose it could of course be coincidence...

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