Dear stranger on the metro,
We don’t know each other of course – for you, I am just a person who was sitting across you on the train, my sad eyes staring into space; for me, you were just a guy sitting across me, reading his book, glancing up to look at me every now and then.
And that’s that.
Usually, people don’t feel comfortable when they sense someone watching them from afar. They might even feel irked, or nervous, or threatened, or scared. I would too. But not this time. Maybe because I was too lost to care. Maybe because in that moment, I was too wrapped up in my own misery to feel anything else.
And maybe you sensed that.
Because when I caught you looking at me, holding my gaze rather than averting your eyes, there was something more than just curiosity there, more than idly glimpsing fellow passengers.
Something about the way you looked at me told me that if I chose to, I could have just walked over and spoken to you. I could have talked to you about my day, or your book, or the traffic. I could have talked about why I was walking with a grey cloud over my head. I could tell you that earlier that day, I had given a thought to ending everything.
I could talk about everything, or nothing at all. And it wouldn’t matter because either way, you will understand. And you will tell me that eventually I’ll be fine.
The way you looked at me, made me feel that you were there for me.
I did think that I might just be reading too much into it. But then, right before you boarded off, you passed me a friendly smile. And I found myself feeling a little lighter. Like one feels after a cathartic conversation with a friend, or when they sit by the sea for hours.
I found within myself the knowledge that eventually, even if it takes a while, I will be okay.
I am not big on going up to random people and opening up; I do not believe in things like ‘Love at first sight’. But I do believe that sometimes we connect with people on a very transitory note; that sometimes the universe sends a little something along when we need it the most.
Maybe that’s the beauty of these moments, that they last not more than a few seconds, and we would be silly to try a find a ‘forever’ in them.
We don’t know each other, and we probably never will. You will become yet another person I passed once upon a time, who peeked into my universe for a little while, and somehow became a part of it. You will go on to find versions of me in someone else, I will look for your eyes in other faces, in other friendly smiles, and in people on the platform who hold my gaze through the glass for a fraction of a second and are then lost.
There are so many lives and stories we will never know, and who will never know ours.
But you, I wish well, where ever you are.
And if you ever find yourself feeling blue, or lost, or you don’t know who you are any more, I hope that a pair of kind eyes find you there.