“Sometimes I would rather that people take away years from my life than take away a moment.”
The phone rang; I didn’t recognize the number. As soon as I heard his voice, I burst into a smile. We talk every now and then, on average about once every six months. We dated many years ago then he moved back to Canada. We never really “broke up,” time and distance simply made it impossible to continue our relationship. After the cursory, “How are you?”s and “How have you been?”s we settled into the “What have you been up to?”s. This is the part that pains me when trying to communicate to those I only speak to on a random basis. How to capture the moments, those events, those special instances, that make up a life? I can say I traveled to London, but how to express the inspiration felt at the final curtain of Les Miserables, the empathy for those dead on stage? How to convey the elation of seeing multiple Picassos at the Tate Modern? I can say I received a promotion at work, but how to impart the surprise, the relief, the excitement I felt as my manager hugged me? As we spoke, I fell into the trap of trying to impart the “big picture” of life in San Francisco rather than focusing on those small moments that embody joy.