I walk down the street, and a stranger makes eye contact. She smiles, and continues passing by.
Sometimes, when I look closely, I see myself as a collection of everyone else. In truth, maybe that’s all we are – pieces collected along the way.
In the last three years, I have nearly drowned in anecdotal evidence of the idea that life isn’t always what we expect. And indeed, I have had very few recent expectations actually materialize. In some cases, expectations ended traumatically, while others drifted more slowly.
But there is beauty in the breakdown, or so they say. The greatest gift of life lies not in the materialization of one’s dreams and visions, but in the amazing ability of life to show you that the impossible is never rightly so; and that dreams and visions matter but they stand no chance against desires, or passions – or the tendency of life to prioritize synergy at all cost, often to the sacrifice of moment-bound expectations.
In the past three years, I have learned that life is beautiful, even when it’s ugly. I have learned that we’re all just really scared, of being alone, and of not being alone, and of what it means to choose. I have learned that sometimes, the biggest roles are played by the people we least expect. Sometimes, the person who seems to have a hand in breaking you turns out to be your best friend, or even more. Sometimes, in fact more often than not, everything works. Everything works, because how could it possibly not?
Sometimes, I feel like some haphazard amalgamation of everyone who’s ever crossed my path, and even more so, of everyone I’ve ever loved. I have a piece of his sense of humour, a piece of her caring nature, a piece of his ability to enjoy the moment without forethought. I even have a piece of the stranger’s smile. And I return the gesture, so as to know both sides.
We are all fragile. We all want to be loved. Pieces collected along the way, all of us.