Between strangers briefly met came a touching of unrecorded lives. In that place behind our eyes where privacies seek out moments of nourishment: in that unmapped jungle deep within our thoughts where primal energies and doubts enjoy freedom of movement, and unchained dreams shout their longings heavenward,
All you said was “Hello” and I was lost, unable to reply: you the wife of a passing dignitary and me some junior staff member of the charity where your husband had arrived to share the glories of our documented kindness. He, it seemed, was the man of the hour, a celebrated figure and pleased to be so. You his gentle wife and “gentle” is the word I use when I think of you because you touched my heart as you walked through my life.
We were both prisoners of expectations formed by others than ourselves, fulfilling duties without regard to harboured dreams or the need for self-expression, or at least I think so. You had become the sum of your duties and social expectations as had I, or at least I think so.
Maybe I was wrong, possibly I was wrong, but in your glance I sensed a recognition not felt by me in recent adulthood. I will progress alone, filling the roles I can afford to fill. I have no power apart from the ability to please. I have become the sum of general expectations but for one glance, I did not feel alone.
I hug this thought in solitude, and your kindness is like the autumn sun. Wherever I may be, and however far I drift from tenderness, I treasure that moment of another’s understanding. The beauty of a life can remain unspoken, dreams kept secret, but in that brief instant, to a man living in quiet desperation, you gave a sense of harmony.