Yes you, who are reading at this very moment. This is NOT a forbidden journal that you have to immediately turn away from. As a matter of fact, all these stories are written for you. For a day when you might be feeling a little down and want a moment of escape out of your own orb into someone else’s. For a day when you are simply all smiles and don’t mind slipping a bit of that happiness our way. Or for a day of boredom when you need to fill your time with some quirky stories that seem so unrelated yet are actually right around you.
It amuses me that at this very moment as I am writing this, here I sit at the same exact spot Esther and I sat years ago when the idea for this public journal sprung up with the words “One day, I wish...” Listening to the same song I put on repeat that summer and vowed to Esther I would play on my wedding day as I walk down the aisle. Looking out through the massive glass partition towards the same view, of adults strolling along seemingly to know exactly what they are doing and of 8th graders standing on the side attempting to come off to be older and cooler than they actually are. And then right there, in the midst of all these people that are living for others to see because they aren’t too sure who they really are yet, something different is peeping out. From ahead in my line of vision, there sits on a wooden bench an aged man and a toddler. Unlike the 8th graders, so eager to shed this stage of awkward hair and pimpled faces and unlike the college students who strut past with heads high, some faked and some not, but all desperately trying to embrace the burden of responsibilities adulthood had thrown at them, this pair perches fully content, unaware of all that surround them, smiling at each other and living for themselves.
Occasionally, the man would clap his hands together and coo, and the child would throw her arms up in pure delight, which made this moment the more enchanting as both of them were fully stripped of any need to act for an audience. Then I look down at my own hands, suddenly made aware of where I am and reminded that I sit here under my own sort of pretense, trying to pass as one of the students with a backpack by my side.
I look again at the toddler, at how I probably was years ago, unadulterated by what time brings, laughing at what was laughable and sulking at what was despicable. Then I turn to the old man for a second, who I will become in some quick 40 years, finally beginning to understand a bit of life and knowing to smile at those whom I love without holding any part of myself back. When I look back up again after writing these down, they are gone. Just like that.
So I guess this is where it all began, on this unimpressive campus that neither of us actually attended. Since high school, I have sat here, looking out towards those I deemed to be unnoticeable. But once in a while, if I look hard enough, there will be that one person whose silence speaks louder than all the cries, that one person who strolls past with his head down, right before I recognize him to be the librarian I last saw 8 years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer, or that one person who walks out into the massive shower and tips his head back to survey the art piece created by raindrops falling down while everyone else leaps inside. And then, I realize that the spotlight is always on, it’s just a matter of whether you look hard enough.
Bye for now,