Sunday, 17 August 2014

The Stranger I Know

Well, I still don't know your name. And honestly, I doubt, I'll ever see you again. But, we'll never know until it happens (or doesn't). Therefore, I guess, you and I are strangers. But, I can't say that's true.

Let me start at the beginning... Our paths first crossed over a year ago, and I'm pretty sure you took as little notice of me as I did you. I remember you were busy being in charge of whatever it was you were in charge of... and I was in my own world trying not to freak out, as always, about having to stand in front of a crowd. I remember seeing you a few weeks later at another fest... You were still as unassuming as you were the first time. I remember because I'd asked a friend why you looked so familiar when you smiled at me. But you were still forgettable. And I did forget you. We were still strangers.

We still are... even though I'm beginning to sound like we've met... you and I both know that we haven't. But I doubt I'll forget the day I actually saw you. No, we didn't converse; we weren't introduced; we weren't forced to cooperate; I doubt we even have friends in common. But I remember the day I recognized something in you, I'd never seen before. I saw JOY in your eyes. Not happiness. Pure joy. Joy that I'd seen in very few people before and since.

It was a morning like any other for me, where I left home, got on one bus and waited to get off and board another one. Your bus was stopped at the red light just next to mine and as I tried to figure out why your face was so familiar, just before recognition dawned, you smiled. I smiled back. And our buses went their separate ways. You made a difference that morning; made it special. All you had to do was smile and that joy spilled over - unadulterated. Of all the people I've befriended on public transport, I'd say my story with you is the oddest, because, we still haven't met.

Our paths crossed again last month, and I still saw that joy in your eyes. Refreshing and bright. Genuine. I was on stage. You smiled with recognition, again... or at least, I'd like to believe it's recognition. I wouldn't be surprised if you were just smiling in encouragement, though. But that joy hadn't changed a bit. I was thrilled to see you, to see that smile. I should've said something, at least a "Hello"; I didn't have the courage. What if you'd never seen me before? Or maybe you would have greeted me back. I guess I'll never know.

But I'll remember. There's a part of me holding on to that fear, hoping our paths don't cross just so I won't embarrass myself; yet, another part hopes to see those joyful eyes again, knowing that you'll remember me. I suppose I may never know... But next time, I'll try harder to gather up the courage to talk to you. Just so you won't be the stranger I know anymore.