Sonder — “the realization each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own”
Three weeks after camp
Alyssa sat on the bench along the sidewalk on her college campus. The sun was just setting over the horizon. She fiddled with the journal on her lap. Her vantage point gave the ideal place to observe different people. If there was she enjoyed about her major was how they taught you to observe different people around her.
There was something about observing the people around her and imagining the different lives they lived just by how she had seen them that made her rethink her own life.
She sat in silence, watching observing.
A young girl walked passed them with her parents. Her eyes were wide with innocence and adoration for her parents. She looked around her with adventure clear in her gaze. Alyssa marvelled at the child-like innocence. What it would be like to be a child once again, she often wondered. Perhaps, the little girl was still the only child of her parents.
The next was a couple that passed her by. They were probably in their mid-fifties. In t-shirts and jersey shorts, they walked hand-in-hand around the campus. They passed Alyssa around three times, each with various smiles on their faces. A pang of regret shot through Alyssa. Perhaps had Kade lived, that would have been them in three decades. As she thought of regrets, a picture of her with another familiar man, flashed through her mind. As she watched the couple, she wondered about their life. Perhaps, they had been together for decades, raised their children, and now waiting for their grandchildren.
For a few more minutes, she watched different people move around her until a young woman no older than her, came to rest beside her with her face in her hands and sobs coming out from her.
The sobs grew louder.
Alyssa pulled a pack of tissues out of her bag and offered it to the woman. “Tissue?”
The woman looked up at her with red rimmed eyes, but took the offered tissue. “Thank you.”
“Would you like to talk?” Alyssa asked slowly.
The woman sniffled and shook her head.
Alyssa nodded just as her dad’s car pulled up. “I have to go. But, please, keep the tissue.”
The woman gripped her wrist. “Don’t hold in what you feel. You never know just how short your time left is.”