Saturday, January 30, 2010

Goldfish crackers

I ran into a classmate at the bus-stop this morning on my way to school. We live only half a block from each other, yet in the time since school started in September, we had never caught the same bus in the mornings. We have been taking all of the same classes together since the fall, have some of the same substance that pulses through our bodies that makes us aspire to be speech pathologists. We've both returned to school after years of working at another job, after years of fumbling around, trying to figure out how best to spend the time we have in this world.

Today, I ran into her at the bus stop. I almost didn't catch that bus, but the stop-lights at the crosswalk cooperated and I sprinted across the street just in time to make it. I was meant to make it today. I was meant to be there, to ask my classmate -- my friend -- how her night had gone. I was meant to sit beside her while she told me that her friend had died the day before. I was meant to just be there and listen as she related how her friend had had a clean bill of health just six months ago, how he was just fifty years old, how he left behind three children, the youngest of which was still in high school.

She was meant to infuse in me the sense that life is so fragile, so beautiful yet unpredictable. She was meant to remind me that as we forge on ahead in our bustle and grind, that moments -- trivial though they are -- still count. She was meant to force me to step back from the big picture and see the little things. Really see them and breathe them in and live them.

We rode to school mostly in silence, walked down the hall in silence, and tried to engage ourselves in the day's lecture. Sometimes, after the initial "I'm so sorry," and other words have failed, the gesture of handing over a bag of goldfish crackers during break might be exactly what is needed. We munched, and savoured, and was all right in that moment. And that made the next moment more bearable, and the subsequent one more enjoyable, and the one after that even beautiful perhaps. If fleetingness is the only sure thing there is, at least there is gentleness and beauty, even in shared sorrow.


  1. Hey,
    I'm coming to Edmonton around the 25th.
    Can you email me so I could call you?

  2. Hey, wow, isn't it so amazing how cool things like that happen? I'm glad you had a positive reunion with your friend, that's just awesome! And how true it now comes as a reminder to me, life is fragile. Stay connected to her, don't let her go. Every encounter that occurs happens with a specific reason.

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