We didn't get off the train at Kuala Lumpur.
"I thought about it," said my husband. "Maybe if we had got off the train at Kuala Lumpur, they would have figured out what was wrong with me."
The Kuala Lumpur train station was cool, I remembered. One of the many interesting sites I had seen from my train window on the journey from Penang to Singapore those many years ago. A lone man in a dugout canoe fishing in the mist. Miles of jungle. A journey where my husband slept and I ate a kilo of cashews and read A Tale of Two Cities. My husband had contracted malaria in Burma which was diagnosed in Phuket on Christmas Day. After he recovered somewhat, we made our way to Singapore and then possibly Australia via Penang. In Australia, I hoped, we could park ourselves in cheap hotel in Cairns and he could relax, lie on the beach, eat seafood, snorkel and gain weight. He could enjoy the benefits of western medicine.
But instead he got sicker. A couple of trips to the hospital in Singapore. A return to Edmonton where an internal parasite was discovered. He got better. We resumed our journey with a trip to England in February. It was freezing, expensive and dull. We flew to Africa. A car accident. A return to Canada. A job far north. Babies who turned into kids who turned into adults. We have still not seen Kuala Lumpur or Cairns. But a life. A life in a place we never thought of. Where we now walked along the frozen shore of Lesser Slave Lake with our dogs as we talked about our friends John and Janine currently in Kuala Lumpur.
"If we got off the train in Kuala Lumpur, " he said. "We wouldn't have had all of this."
All that came after.