Paul, a retired senior first officer (the pilot with the 3 gold bars on his epaulets) excitedly waved at me from his seat which was quite far from me. I was having a cuppa at a coffee shop near his house.
We used to work in the airlines together for many years. Paul and I used to fly a lot together especially back in the 1970s when the aircraft fleet was small and there were not many crew. We were not the best of friends but we got along well as colleagues.
Paul looked well and fit. He was slightly older than me. We talked about old times and gossiped about what had happen to whom and who had passed away etc.
After an hour of chatting, we parted company but not without exchanging our phone numbers. " Call me whenever you are around my place and we could meet for a coffee ok?" Paul said cheerfully.
A month later, I happened to be around the same place where I have had coffee with Paul. I called him on my mobile. It was his home phone number that was given to me. His wife answered the call. The phone was passed to Paul. On hearing my voice he did not sound too happy. He turned down my request for a coffee. Paul sounded grouchy. " No,no I can't have a drink with you!" he was almost on top of his voice. I was taken aback by Paul's weird behaviour. We did not meet that day.
I was troubled by Paul's reaction towards me that day. I dared not call him after that incidence.
One morning, something caught my attention as I browsed through the newspaper. I was shocked to see Paul's photo in the obituary page. He was gone and I couldn't eat the whole of that day. I am still puzzled by Paul's behaviour towards me. Was he sick when I called him or was he upset with me?