I love this little harbor, I do not even have to mention its name, one can sit and chill on fish and chips and beer or wine.
The trains come by, as well as the fishing boats, seagulls and seals.
A good place to dream about anything and or everything …
So I wrote this essay, basically about how ephemeral Life can be, using the narrative of a boy and a girl who connect, for a few moments only on a train, and then the boy gets off, and looks back at her and she looks back at him, as the train disappears forever.
(There is a real story behind this that I witnessed but it is about a boy and a girl who happen to sit on a wall, strangers, but close enough to be almost mistaken as a couple, and then they part ways … but at this harbor the train acts as the ‘wall’ with some fantasy thrown in … thanks to my good online friend Daniel in Texas who nudged me into using some magical realism here and there … )
In my narrative, the boy never forgets her, and decades later he happens to be watching trains pass by while sipping beer.
In a conversation with a fellow patron sipping beer (me in this fantasy) he asks if he ever wonders about all the people that he has met.
Too many people, too much to wonder is the reply from the patron (… me in this fantasy).
I had a feeling that when I wrote that line it might evoke an unexpected response …
And so it did, a reader from the other side of the world, from the East, from Vietnam, asks me online:
“It’s haunting Sir … what happened to all the people you have met?”
(The East has this sense of politeness that when translated into English is both quaint … and absolutely beautiful in its sweetness: Sir … )
Ah, … of all the questions he could have asked that is the most difficult one to answer … !
It feels like one is clutching all these scores and scores of threads of relationships that have had their intense moments e.g. childhood friends, student friends, young adult friends, teachers, people from the place you grew up in, people that you worked with etc.
And these threads, there are so many, some are still vivid, others less so, some almost forgotten … and others forgotten!
And it is as if Life and Circumstances have swallowed the vast majority, dispersed them all over the world for that matter, literally and figuratively, some tragically have passed, others have had misfortunes and disappeared from sight, and so on.
One has these threads in hand but most disappear out of sight, twist and turn into Somewhere Out There Out Of Sight … you have no idea where they end, if they are intact still …
So one can wonder where on earth they have all gone, but just the logistics of figuring it all out is a challenge!
There are also those myriad of instances, like that of the boy and a girl who meet on a train for a few moments, connect, and then miss that once in a lifetime opportunity to hold onto the connection, for whatever reason, shyness or whatever.
Ironically, they may even have passed each other in the street one day and not recognized each other after the years!
And in many instances one may have also not held on enough to these threads, of childhood friends etc, one can be as guilty as the next, myself included, in not having tried to hang on.
But every now and again you feel a pull on a thread, and someone comes looking for you, as in a previous article I wrote on this website, perhaps even chides you when they do, somewhat annoyed but at the same time happy that they have found you, and says:
“Hey, where have you been?”