Strangers

"Bewitching hour" Digital Art by Shirl A. Steward

 

So many special moments
in this journey we call life
But so often
we fail to notice them
For, we are, alas, too preoccupied
in the playing of the game,
forever running on the treadmill
of turmoil, crisis and challenge

as the slaves trapped in never-ending
daily regiment and obligation.
Rarely stopping, rarely breathing
in the freshness of air or
rarely savoring the warmth of the sun
upon one's face in the early morn.
Why is there no time for the wonder
of special never-to-be-again moments,
when all we really have in life is time?
Isn't life more than just a string
of days' events simply leading into nights?
Alas, a pattern cycling again and again,
robotically the march goes on
from the beginning to the end
of life's allotted time.
 
I think of all the special strangers,
I touched and those I could not.
Just recently, I found my eyes
meeting those of another.
I almost passed him by without a word
but then I stopped and returned his stare.
Mutual smiles and laughter soon appeared as
we learned we shared a kinship rare.
So much alike, we conversed for hours
like long lost friends reunited.
Yet a distance and discomfort
still brought it all to an end.
The abruptness of the parting
did not match the obvious warmth
that lay beneath the surface
waiting . . . begging to be shared. 
My mind sought for reasons why
two people with so much in common,
indeed, the very same needs and desires,
could part in such a way.
 
Curiosity got the better of this cat
so I wrote and offered a coffee chat.
His answer was full of sadness,
he said it was a marriage he had not
revealed and my engaging wit
that kept him from being frank.
Humm . . . I'm not quite sure what
made him think that friendship
is confined to those without a mate.
Still, it was a special moment
I can't duplicate except again with him,
a would-be friend who walked away
because the rules, born of societal norms,
say he's not allowed any special moment
with a woman to even talk, forget the play.
 
Yes, still it was one of those precious
special moments I would not trade
for all the moments lost in a life
focused on never taking chances.
Given free will, all such events
are a calculated risk, friend or foe
we do not know without venturing,
no movement forward always
means nothing gained.
 
Other special moments?
I stopped to help a woman
who seemed so deeply lost in despair,
she was looking for her dog,
alas, her pet was never found
however, we are still friends to this day,
and, too, satisfied I am, we did our best
to find her gone-astray companion.
 
A man at the bus station was puzzled
and perplexed, alas where could he go,
being a stranger to our town.
I questioned him and found this man
was yet another kindred soul,
a writer from the state of Texas,
he came to find tales to tell
and left also, having found a friend.
 
A thousand special moments,
a smile, a glance or a dozen hours
conversation, all left me renewed of faith.
There are indeed a few of like mind
waiting, not just to pass the time,
but to explore the many opportunities
in reaching out to embrace all
to make connections . . .
be it just for the pleasure
of a passerby's thankful smile,
or the making of a new friend,
partner or companion  . . .
let us rejoice in the beauty of
special moments and in the treasures
they have to give and share.
Equality and peace be
to all as one
for, if truth be known . . .
there are no strangers here.
 
By Shirl A. Steward
written and copyright 12/19/2006