We were laughing, I think. Or maybe we weren’t. Maybe they were laughing; maybe I was too. I can’t remember. It’s not important.
It was a long time ago, anyway. Not so long ago, a few years, perhaps, or last week — I forget the details.
We were laughing. And then we weren’t.
It’s strange how quickly life can change, and how momentous those changes can appear to be on the face of things. A friendship breaks off, and it feels in the moment like your world is collapsing around you, shards of something so constant, and yet now so obviously fragile, scattered at your feet like babies’ toys, pathetic, feeble and unfamiliar. Or you failed a big assignment, and everything you’ve worked so hard to achieve, for weeks — months –, all those late nights, and tears and cold cups of cheap, bitter coffee add up to create one, simple letter, and the smooth curves and angles within the printed character just don’t mimic the one you had imagined, hoped for, dreamed of. Or maybe someone has passed away: your rock, the one person you could rely on, the one whose presence you never doubted simply due to their previous consistency vanishes, and you’re left, alone, cold and flailing, because even anchors fall through sometimes.
Regardless, life can change in an instant — we all know that. A life can be made in an instant, broken in another, and then desperately thrown back together to create something beautifully imperfect in a third. But, this is undoubtedly unbeknownst to us: the moment that matters, the time when it really counts, is almost invariably lost amongst our determined attempts at consistency, and our misguided and frankly untruthful belief that life is completely within the grasp of our own control.
We are told to count the big moments; moving to secondary school in Year 7; starting university, aged 18; getting our first job, nervous and inexperienced; our first partner; our wedding; our first children. These moments are meant to be the ones that make our lives, that matter and hold particular significance in our minds, and, often, they do. But this can merely thicken the veil over our eyes, blinding us to the fact that the moments we pay the least attention to can, sometimes, be the ones that matter. Meeting someone for the first time is never particularly eventful, but if they become your best friend for years to come, that moment is heightened in its vitality. Buying a coffee from Starbucks is hardly anything to write home about, but should you find yourself, in five years time, at the alter with the person behind you in the queue that day, buying that coffee is surely one of the most important moments — and best decisions — of your life, despite your complete naivety at the time.
To tell the truth, I’m not sure what we can learn from this observation, if anything at all. Live every moment as if it really matters? I suppose that works, although the effort and, in my case, constant paranoia that would run alongside that theory would almost certainly drive me over the edge into insanity. Perhaps, then, we just need to remember not to discredit the smallest of actions. Don’t discard a day, or force yourself to do something you don’t want to do, because every day is important — or at least, it could be –, and being true to yourself is what matters, ultimately.
Maybe this has all been rambling; maybe it makes sense. Regardless, I hope you enjoyed this post, and that it got you thinking about, well, something.