A note on moments spent in the eyes of a stranger
The colours sway as the thin leaves of a soft aspen.
Twirling into different shades of coffee, chocolate, caramel, amber and crystal.
Some hues are as unknown to my being as this moment. Others are old and comfortable, like the safe interior of my favorite sweater.
I see another world entirely. Where there is strength and confidence living in harmony with worry and fear. I feel an authentic rush of honest intrigue and excited curiosity as these colorful portals somehow focus even more intently on… me?
For a moment I am safe, cared for, thought of and even enjoyed. The dark centers edged in twisting golden brown rays somehow manage to lock me in…
I am naked. I am vulnerable. I can hide nothing. I attempt to hide nothing. My world is colliding with a foreign universe and it’s almost musical.
An overwhelming urge to run consumes me. But I want to stay. There is something familiar and safe in the oak colored waves splashing about before me. The nausea in the pit of my stomach subsides and is replaced with a wave of peace. Calm. Safety. I’ve been here before and the recollection is both excruciating and wonderful. I stay; still and peaceful. I stay; terrified and exhilarated. I am seen.
What do they see? My heart races. They can see my pain, my faults, my fears, my past. Do they see my mistakes? Do they see my tears or my triumphs? Both? What is it? Why are they still holding me here as if they’re enthralled in a story?
I am simultaneously alive and dead. All of my flaws and scars bubble to the surface and I struggle to breathe at the idea that they see them. My heart races and my mind attempts to sort through a thousand different thoughts in one moment.
What’s on my mind? I have no idea.
I break connection to look down. Breathe. The thought to run is briefly entertained, though I cannot stay away. But I do run, back to the portals.
There they are. Soft and kind, hard and interesting. As open as I am and as complex as the stars. The waves of bark splash against dunes of amber and a sky of perfect light. I am, in an instant, simply myself. Here, studying the intricate pathway to another soul. It is peaceful and sacred.
I see again a courage that has been set aflame with passion and a timidity that springs from some former version of this scene. There are mountains and valleys; rivers flowing with life and deserts as empty as my own. I see it. I see it in all it’s perfect despair and wonderful tenacity.
Through the portals I see a vibrant and expectant life full of vigor and curiosity. By seeing this, I come alive. I breathe with purpose. I see with reason.
The soft dirt dances in the air as it twists and turns into a musical wind that twirls around and around. It’s a mesmerizing landscape and I watch. I feel. I see.
By Meaghan Weldele
Written 14 June 2017
Photo: Robin Hood’s Bay, Whitby, England