Funny how some memories fade almost straight after living the moment and how some never die.
For some reason, bad events seem to stick more to the back of my mind. I am prompt to remember times when people hurt me, or times I hurt people when I didn’t mean to… And sometimes, a good memory pops out, out of nowhere, crystal clear as if it had happened the day before.
Like this morning. It might be the blue sky, or the sound of the breeze in trees’ leaves. Maybe the shy warmth of the beginning of Summer… I went back about a decade ago and remembered Eric.
Back then, I lived in Trois-Rivières. Alone. It gave me the liberty of being very spontaneous. I liked waking up, a Saturday morning, packing up a few things and hopping on a bus to Montréal. For no other reason than the fact that I could, and not telling anyone about it.
Once in town, I’d find a grocery store, buy a few things to nibble on, and go park hunting. I could have done the same thing in Trois-Rivières, but going to Montréal just gave me a chance to pick a new park everytime, and there was no chance I’d run into someone I knew.
That particular day, I was wearing a black tank top, a white blouse over it, and a chocolate brown bohemian skirt that went down to my ankles… I walked through the streets, with no destination in mind, when I found my park du jour.
I spotted a picnic table in the nice shade of a tall tree (yeah, I have very sensitive skin, and I seek shade whenever I can. Tan is not a word in my dictionary, lol) and I settled for the afternoon.
It was long before I got a tablet, so I got my notebook out of my bag. I prepared my water bottle and my snacks, and started scribling my thoughts down. I could easily spend hours like that, just enjoying the chirping of the birds, and the laughters of the children playing nearby.
I was lost in my Summer thoughts when I noticed him.
Outside the park’s gate, he stood by the stop sign, on the corner of the street. Tall and athletic, he wore rollerblades, and I was waiting to see him roll his way up or down the street, but he didn’t move.
I looked down to write a few more words… Then looked back up, where he still stood.
He was probably waiting for a friend. Most probably. Or maybe just catching his breath after a long ride in the neighbourhood. Maybe… I noticed he looked my way, perhaps I looked like that friend he was waiting for, and he expected me to get up and join him?
I went back to my writing once more, not paying attention to the rollerblade guy.
I jumped a little. Mr rollerblade had (clumsily) walked to my picnic table, and was now standing a few feet away.
I don’t want to disturb, but I noticed you and…
I put my pen down, a bit stunned that he was taking the time to stop and come chat with me. He was well spoken, and charming and I invited him to sit with me. We chit-chatted for a short while.
I don’t remember what our conversation was about. It doesn’t really matter. He stayed for a moment, and then stood up again, and asked for my name.
I am Eric… Do you live in the neighbourhood?
No, no I didn’t. I lived an hour and a half away from this lovely park, and was just enjoying a weekend in town. He seemed genuinely disappointed.
Tough luck… It was nice meeting you!
We shook hands, and he rolled away.
Eric didn’t change my life that nice Summer day. But he gave me a precious gift I had never had before, and was never offered since… The feeling that, from afar, that person couldn’t just go on, pass by me, and not check out who I was. The sweet feeling of being noticed, just for being there.
And because of it, I still remember that warm sunny day vividly… And I remember Eric.