Monday, January 31, 2011
Mr. Random Stranger in the rain
7:58 PM Moments in time
(Wrote this some time back but decided to post it after listening to Sparks Fly because I think it's the perfect soundtrack for this story;) Click and listen while you read if you want :))
"There’s no such thing as an ordinary person,” he said, when I told him I was nothing special, just an ordinary girl.
“Every single person you meet is a story waiting to be told.”
He was always saying things like that. Making me think about what I believe. Going against the norms and questioning everything.
We met on a dark, rainy evening. Two strangers waiting for the same train. One totally oblivious to the presence of the other (me, of course), mulling over the day that had passed and impatient to get home.
He said it was captivating how engrossed and wrapped up I was in my thoughts. I couldn’t understand how he could find a tired, disheveled and damp (from walking to the station in the rain) girl captivating.
But he was irresistable like that. “So? Can’t I find a tired, disheveled, and damp girl captivating?” he teased.
“I hate the rain,” I complained. “It makes it hard to go anywhere without an umbrella, slows down traffic, and disrupts people’s plans.”
He laughed. “It also nourishes the plants that give off the oxygen we breathe. And there’s no better way to enjoy a cup of coffee than when it’s pouring outside. So what if your plans are disrupted? We need reminders to slow down and breathe. We rush through life too fast.”
He rode the train home with me that night. He asked if I had any plans, and I told him that I had some work to catch up on. He gave me a slightly amused look, one that seemed to say "as if anyone would be caught dead working on a Friday night" - to which I rolled my eyes and retorted that some people had to earn a living, and not necessarily in the manner they’d prefer.
He asked if he may interrupt my plans. I said yes.
We had dinner at a nearby cafe and coffee after as the downpour faded into a drizzle. “Let’s go for a walk,” he said.
“Where? There’s no park nearby.”
“What’s there to see?”
“Everything. Or nothing. Your choice.”
He was always speaking in riddles like that.
I sighed. “Okay, fine. Let’s go.”
He chuckled, as if enjoying some private joke.
I rolled my eyes in mock exasperation. Which only brought on another chuckle.
“Am I some kind of amusement to you or something?” I huffed.
“No… you’re hilarious,” he began, and just as I was beginning to get sincerely pissed, he added: “and breath-takingly beautiful and utterly captivating,” as I stood there half-gaping, half wanting to melt into his arms.
I asked him where he was from. I listened as he told me tales of his childhood growing up in a small rural town.
“Sounds wonderful,” I said. “Must be nice being surrounded by so much nature and beauty… and people who aren’t cynical and greedy and mean.”
We passed through an alley, the street lights casting larger-than-life shadows as we walked. Graffiti was scrawled all over the walls, and litter and trash lined the street. A drunk stumbled away in the distance.
I took in the sight and sighed. “City life is so… draining.”
He stopped. He turned, face half covered by shadows, and looked at me. “You really think you’ll be any happier if you lived in an idyllic countryside home instead of where you are now?”
“Either that or the beach.”
“Why the beach?”
“Because I love the sun. It’s warm, inviting... It makes me feel happy. Here it rains all the time and it just makes me want to curl up and sleep the day away.”
“Okay. So you really think you’ll be happier if you lived in the countryside or on the beach?”
“Um… well… yeah. Wouldn’t anyone? Wouldn’t you?” I asked.
He paused, letting the question hang.
“Baby, beauty isn’t found in a place. It’s found inside. Wherever you go, there are bound to be people who will wear you down - if you let them. Just as there’s lovely people to be found if you’re looking. Doesn’t matter where you are - the country, the city. Anywhere can be beautiful, if your heart’s in the right place.”
“The city,” he continued, "is such a crashing together of creativity, culture, and class. All of it: poverty, wealth, ambition, desire, spirit, humanity. Like any other place on earth, life becomes a prism for who we are… revealing our true colors.”
A low rumble of thunder sounded in the distance. A few moments later, the sky opened up and it began to rain again. He took my hand and pulled me out to the middle of the empty street. “What are you doing?” I asked.
“Dance with me,” he said.
“Are you insane?" I asked.
“Someone once said this: 'Anyone who thinks sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain.' I think you should dance in the rain.”
“Come on. You only have one life to live. You’re only going to get one chance to say yes to dancing with this particular random person on this particular random street in this particular rain on this particular night. What about it, baby?”
A thousand million thoughts ran through my mind in that moment. This is crazy. This man is crazy. I’m going to fall sick tomorrow morning. It’s going to be a drag washing these clothes. But he’s right. Maybe I need a change of perspective.
What if he’s right? What else have I been missing out on?
“Well?” he asked, looking at me questioningly. Expectantly. As if he already knew what I was going to say.
I said yes. And I’ve never looked back since.
“Anyone who thinks sunshine brings happiness has never danced in the rain,” he told me, a long time ago.
I have just one thing to add: Anyone who thinks that love is supposed to be perfect has never fallen in love in the shadows of a dark alley, graffiti scrawled on the wall, empty beers cans on the street.
He was right. It’s not about where you are. It’s about where your heart is.
P/S - The above is a work of semi-fiction, as Mr. Random Stranger was inspired by multiple random people. Just in case you were wondering. :) And, I don't hate the city. I absolutely LOVE it.