Moments in our Lives
In this circle of life we cross paths with many, some are friends others strangers. And yet they all impact our lives in one way or another.
We often drift through life without taking the time to remember and cherish those moments we notice in our hurry, seeing fleetingly and forgetting quickly. They are moments that made us laugh, cry, moments that make us vulnerable and reaffirm our common humanity. I’m only 23 but I’ve still felt these moments with strangers like the brush of angel’s wings in my life. These little connections with strangers I will never meet again are moments I will remember my whole life but believe too insignificant to speak about. We collide and collapse into each other with daily interactions and connections, a ripple effect that echoes. And although I will never know their names, these strangers had an effect on my life that is as profound as it is simple. I wonder if there are people out there whose lives I’ve touched and if they will ever remember me and wonder where life took me, because I know I always wonder about these nameless strangers.
Moments of parental affection hit me hard, as a wave of vulnerability washes over me and I can’t help but stand still for a moment, just to look at the unconditional love between parent and child. Driving home from work, I saw the hidden glance; a teenage boy that stopped to turn and look back at a girl after they crossed each other, too shy to look at her as she approached. I saw the boy who stopped his bike to scratch the back of a cat slinking around its garden fence territorially. But the moment that touched me the most was the father carrying a pink scooter over his shoulder while his round bellied little six year old jogged to keep up with his long stride, a Barbie helmet on her curly blonde hair.
Sitting in the bus on the way back home from university, I was sitting opposite a tired mother with a baby. The baby sat in her lap and its eyes wandered unfocused, never stopping to pause on trees or children outside but darting about confused by the stimuli it was accosted with. Eventually the colours and people just got too much for the poor mite and it started bawling, worrying its tired mother who tried in vain to soothe it. After debating whether or not to intervene (would it seem too rude? Would she glare at me for trying play with her baby?), I tentatively jingled my silver bangles in front of the baby and let them slide up and down my arm. It immediately stopped crying and followed my bangles with its eyes. I then waved the tassels of my pink scarf near its face and it grabbed them with a small chubby hand. It was only then that I dared to look at its mother, and she looked at me with relief, and mouthed thank you. I will never know that baby’s name, or if it was a boy and a girl. But I still think about that moment even though it was three years ago.
I vividly remember a moment seven years ago when I sat at a bus stop in a red gypsy top and saw a truck pulling out of a driveway on the opposite side of the road and do a U turn across four lanes. As the truck pulled into the lane beside me, the man in the passenger seat glanced out the window and caught my stare. He smiled a full genuine smile at me and winked before the driver sped away. I will never forget his face, or that beautiful cheeky smile. It was a moment between two strangers that meant something in that second to both of us, and to me still years later. Though I doubt he will ever remember the 15 year old girl in a gypsy top staring at him, I still think of him at times, and see glimpses of him in another smile, yet another’s cheekbone.
I will always remember the kindness of two strangers who asked me with sincere interest about my studies in public bathroom in another country. You meet all kinds of people in bathrooms but it’s not often you meet someone who wishes you well and wants the best for a stranger. I will never forget the man I met on a flight eight years ago who told me about his long-distance relationship with his girlfriend and their three-monthly reunions. He will never know how much it meant to me to be told something that may have been commonplace to him but to me it was like being let into an intimate adult world that my 14 year old self had never wandered in before. I wonder if their relationship survived the turbulence of a long distance relationship and I hope that they are still happy.
I can clearly remember the moments in my own life that have made me laugh and cry and want to die…or live forever in that second. But it’s these moments with strangers, these collisions and tracing of ones footsteps that intrude upon the intimacy of others’ lives; that make me believe in our commonality. I am still making amends for the mistakes I’ve made and people I’ve hurt, and I wonder how many others are there that I have left my footprints on. I hope I was the girl who helped them face their own sadness and gave them some solace in their grief. I hope I am the girl who in doing something stupid and making a fool of herself, gave someone something to laugh at and some respite from their worries. To all the strangers who touched my life, your presence has not gone unnoticed. I hope that I have only touched your lives with grace and if not, I am sorry for causing you any pain in that brief collision of our life paths. I will always wish you well and I hope you remember me and wish me the same.