“All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better it is.” Ralph Waldo Emerson
Life is a strange and wondrous experiment. One travel through it weathering the troughs in silence and exclaiming at the top of the lungs on the peaks, but always through it all there are the constant air pockets of negative thoughts that some time manage to coalesce and cause turbulence in words and deeds. But that Saturday afternoon was none of those things. It was quiet and unassuming evening, the gathering dusk and the rolling clouds made it particularly beautiful. The sun peeked in between the clouds and the under bellies of the clouds shimmered with gold.
There was traffic as I waited for my ride on the pavement, when a gentle tug at my coat alerted me to a presence nearby. I looked around and to my surprise found a short Asian fellow looking up at me.
Hmm, I wondered what could he want? Maybe a ride? Some money? What? But he had a crooked smile. One side of his face did not follow the happiness within, probably from the ravages of an untimely stroke, I wondered. He looked straight into my eyes expectantly, but my screen behind my eyes must have remained blank as I looked back at him. I could not place him.
He thrust his left hand forward and not knowing the intent, I took it in mine. His frail and skeletal hands with a paper h thin skin mottled with blemishes from minor traumatic subcutaneous capillary bleeds. He shook my hand with vigor as much as he could muster and then held it. He could see my quizzical expression and some reluctance at this acquaintance.
He looked around and nodded at an approaching lady, about his height and around his age. She walked towards me and her face broke out in a smile also.
“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” she said. At least she could speak. The riddle was about to be solved.
“You,” she said with a strong Japanese accent, “saved our Mikey.”
Mikey, Mikey…the name rattled around in my brain not evoking any signals. I smiled back at them. And then she did something that I had seen someone do a long time ago. She rubbed her chin and put her index finger in her mouth as if in a thought. The genetic code did not lie. I remembered.
Mikey, it turns out was a youngster who had battled and won against testicular cancer.
“How is Mikey?” I asked and she knew that I knew.
“Good,” she said. “Very Good,” she repeated with emphasis. “He is a very important person at the bank now.”
“I am glad.” I said. “Give him my regards. Oh and just to let you know,” I continued, “He saved himself. It was his strength and his will power that helped him.” But she rejected the argument with a wave of her hand. Her mind had been made up.
She spoke for a while and “thanks” hung like a rose in bloom on every sentence. I felt it in my heart. The conversation slowed and then they both just stared at me for a while without an ounce of regret or embarrassment. We stood quietly for a while, they basked in their success at relieving themselves of the burden to thank for their gift they had received and I stood there feeling light on my feet basking in their good wishes.
What a strange feeling of pure joy!
My ride approached and I offered them one to their destination, but she declined. They both waved as I left in the car and turned back to look and found them waving as they were reduced by distance to a size of tiny stick figures and I am sure they could not see through that ether of separation.
Didn't I say, life is a strange and wondrous experiment? It is!
There is magic in spoken words and the good others perceive. There is magic in unspoken actions and handshakes with strangers. There is magic in crooked smiles and paper-thin skin covered fragile hands. There is magic in touch. There is magic in life!
There is magic!
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” Albert Einstein