“So Grampi, was it love at first sight when you saw her?”
Daughter’s eyes widen, jaw drops when Maternal Grandpa lets out belly laugh.
Her romantic notions of darling-sweep-me-off-my-feet-I’m-yours-forever are shattered.
Sister and I glean bits and pieces over the years.
Dad’s story –
“I came home from work one evening, and Mother told me I was fixed up.”
No further discussion …
(Rumour has it that Paternal Grandma in her heyday was a tough bird.)
Fixed up is a direct translation from the vernacular. There’s a sense of no-way-out about it.
Matchmakers are Aunty Ruby’s in-laws.
Dad, up-and-coming young banker, is desperate to see what the girl looks like before formal introduction when he and parents visit her home. Enlists help of Friend Gunam. Friend and he ride Dad’s scooter up and down Mum’s lane. Young Lady finally makes an appearance on front porch.
Dad and Friend ride away. Dad is glum.
Friend Gunam’s version: “He was speechless. He fell instantly in love.”
Dad’s version: “I didn’t know what to say. She looked like nothing on earth!”
Enormous relief to meet the girl a few days later. Accomplished. Demure. Long dark hair. Pleasant to behold.
Turns out young lady on front porch was Neighbour’s Daughter!
True story – honest – straight from the horse’s mouth.
Mum’s Story –
Me: “Mum, so what did you think when you saw him?”
Mum: “He was so handsome, darling. My heart skipped a beat!”
The date is fixed. Here comes the bride …
Uncle Gunam – comrade, confidante, fellow sleuth – is Bestman.
Fast forward fifty years. Golden Wedding Anniversary celebrations.
They all said it – grannies and great aunts, aunties and elderly widows:
“Love comes after marriage, that’s how it happens.”
There is the occasional time when discouragement slithers in under the guise of common sense, and hisses, “Sorry babe, it ain’t ever gonna happen!”
Such a weight of deflated dreams descended on me for no particular reason last week, right in the middle of grocery day. Feeling grim and bereft, I tossed items into a supermarket cart, and wandered around until I found myself looking at this enormous fabric creature perched on a stack of plastic storage bins –
It didn’t belong where I found it. Someone had set it down there, just in time for me and my mood. The red heart and goofy smile felt like a love letter of reassurance. My spirits rose. Cart and I continued on and rounded a corner. The caption on an outsize shirt shouted –
The load of doubt dissolved and I smiled in spite of myself. How could I help it when the very space around me seemed to conspire in my favour? [My friend, Rosalyne, calls this phenomenon Universal Synchronicity.)
It’s amazing how a single special moment can
My mum used to say,
Look at this –
Never too old …
I wouldn’t be able to bear it.
I took this picture last week –
, chuckling at memories of a friend who once told me her family tree was composed entirely of fruits and nuts! I grinned and remembered a recent moment at the bulk food store, when I unintentionally eavesdropped on a brief conversation.
“Could you tell me where the hazelnuts are?” a man asked.
, sir. In the nut aisle,” the assistant replied.
My mind boggled as I began to visualize the faces I’d find on the shelves of the nut aisle.
Pretty much anyone who thinks
, I suppose, and that would include me, for sure!
There are three kinds of people in this world –
(1) The (2) The non-dreamer
(3) The dream-killer
The dreamer – that’s you (if you’re a nut!)
The non-dreamer – the one who regrets his inability to dream big crazy dreams, and might enjoy living vicariously through you
The dream-killer — the practical, down-to-earth sort of person who feels duty-bound to tell you that it’s time to grow up and stop wasting your time.
Here’s the deal –
and believes in the dream.
Dear fellow nut, do you know you have a
At the end of life’s journey, I want to be able to say,
, but big or small
A toast to all the dreaming nuts (and fruits) out there –
Rush hour traffic on Friday morning. A chopped-off bar of colour appears ahead, directly above the steering wheel.
A sideways glance at my passenger. “Look at the gorgeous bit of rainbow!”
No response from Daughter. I turn into the bus station, and …
An equal-opposite matching wedge in pastel colours. The slices cling to the sky, like two pillars on either side of the building.
Enchanting. Delighted …
“Look, another piece. Heaven is smiling!
! It’s going to be special!”
Daughter throws a puzzled look and hops out of the car. “Bye, Mom.”
I park some feet away, remove sunglasses, raise camera-phone to click. No rainbow.
Disappointed. Turn key in the ignition, put sunglasses back on and … my chunks of rainbow are back!
Lower the glasses to the tip of my nose. Rainbow-chunks disappear. Realization dawns. These stumps of rainbow are only visible through tinted glasses. Daughter never saw them. She must have thought I was nuts.
I’ve just seen beauty un-visible to the naked eye. Life’s like that sometimes, isn’t it?
I drive home realizing that
because Inner Me wears tinted lenses born from the dark seasons she’s lived through.
I suppose the soul-sunglasses are to blame for how my eyes perceive things. Like last week, when I was in the mall minding my business. I had this serious urge to step into Hallmark Cards and …
Three ceramic ornaments in different spots — two below eye level and half turned away from where I stood — held hands and stood up to shout with one voice –
Message for the day?
– honest! I’m
to convince me and
I took this picture some months back.
How I laughed. That’s me. I can’t help it!
P.S. Keep the sunglasses on!
This post is dedicated to my friend Marietta with my thanks for the pictures she took and shared with me. I’ve used one of them in this piece. All the other photos are digital moments captured on my phone.
“It’s weird, Rosie. I walked into Winners and the shelves came alive. As if the display had been contrived just for me. The words were flying out from everywhere. Odd thing is, I hadn’t planned to go there. Just felt an overwhelming urge as I drove by, so I popped in.”
I show pictures –
There was more.
I met Rosalyn two years ago, on Fanstory, a website for writers. Turned out she lived round the corner, not in Alaska, Australia or … Timbuctoo!
to talk about writing and … our dreams. The more we talk, the less unattainable they seem.
Rosalyn scrolls through the pictures on my phone. I chatter on –
“The same thing happened when I visited my cousin in Ohio over the Thanksgiving weekend. We went on an unplanned shopping trip and – oh, my goodness! – the place was alive with … dreams, Rosie. Look!”
More pictures –
“It’s called universal synchronicity,” Rosalyn volunteered.
“Synchro … what?”
“That’s what my son says it is. It means the universe is trying to tell you something.”
“The universe? You mean God?”
“Whatever you like to call it. Something’s trying to communicate with you.”
“To encourage me to keep dreaming?”
“I guess so. Yes!”
“A man almost collided into my shopping cart last week. My eyes popped out of my head when the lettering on his T-shirt began to screech!”
Rosalyn grins. “You got a picture?”
“I chased him down the Walmart parking lot and asked it I could. Told him the words were significant. Said I wasn’t a crazy woman!”
She chuckles. “You dared?”
“He obliged. I had to record the moment. This stuff has been happening a lot lately.”
I flash more pictures –
My words trip over one another. “I’ve caught more than a thousand moments on my phone, Rosie. Look at what I saw last Saturday, on a shelf at Winners. It had no business there – ladies’ section, face up – staring at me … ”
“It kind of grew and screamed … honest! I was rushing past, not really looking.” I barely pause for breath. “I found a belated Christmas present in my mailbox some days back. From a friend I haven’t met in ages. I almost jumped out of my skin when I opened the package and saw the words on the picture frame.”
A dream come true!
Rosalyn, bless her, is never sceptical.
“I had to see someone on Saturday. When I drove into the parking lot of her building, something grew out of the corner of my eye. It filled my line of vision.
Rosalyn looks amused. “You took a picture, of course.”
“It was parked at the far end. There was absolutely no reason for me to notice it.”
“And then I had this compelling to drop in at Indigo Books. I hadn’t been there in ages. This paper weight jumped up the moment I walked in –
The words seemed to be on every item that caught my eye. Suddenly, I heard a child’s voice mumbling, ‘Dream bigger, darling’. I got goose bumps. The kid was reading out loud. He held a pencil case in his hands, the words were etched on it. It felt pleasant, you know, and kind of weird!”
It’s snowing outside. The medium white hot chocolate is warm in my hands. I take a deep breath and sigh. “I’m excited, Rosie!”
“Me too,” Rosalyn replies. “This synchronicity thing has been happening to me too!”
This post is dedicated to my friends – Rosalyn (who’s such a wonderful listener), Alice (who delighted me with the unexpected gift) and Karen (who dropped it off in my mailbox). With my love and thanks.