This morning I couldn’t jog to work. The skies flooded and fell upon the ground beneath. I wore boots instead of running shoes, because wet socks are a hellborn scourge sent earthbound. My girlfriend had left earlier, taking her rain slicker. I had no hesitation in grabbing her large umbrella to justify going outside in a T-shirt. It was muggy, humid, but as a departure from the endless sun of summer, it was sort of nice for a change. As the bus came, I fumbled with putting away my phone, getting out my metropass and closing my umbrella without getting drenched. What resulted was an awkward dance that likely nobody else gave a shit about.
When I got into the station, I saw a mother and her toddler at the food of the stairs. I paused and took note. The mother held the boy to her chest. The two of them were soaked right through. As she bounced him up and down, he started to smile. The smile spread to her face. The boy began giggling uncontrollably. It was infectious, she giggled along with him. It couldn’t have been for longer than a minute, but something about the experience struck me. Out of nowhere, surrounded by swarms of people hurriedly commuting, time for them stopped and they shared a moment. The total adoration between them was a joy to watch. It was beautiful.
It took me back to one of the many times as a kid I showered with my mum. We had a little game we’d play called “skin to skin”. She’d hold me up high and hold me tight as the water would cascade down from the faucet and pool between us. Skin slick and wet, she’d rotate me left and right as I’d cry out with glee. I imagined the reservoir between us as the kind of lake where tired animals would come to quench their thirst. There was a warmth beyond the water temperature and a closeness that wasn’t physical. Time and time again I’d ask to play skin to skin, probably past the point where I was getting too heavy to lift. As the years pass, that image stays with me, vivid as ever.
I like watching kids be kids and until today, I didn’t quite get why. Seeing this exchange, it hit me:
My favourite memories aren’t tied to large scale events, or expensive experiences. Time and time again, it’s been these small moments of warmth, an unspoken emotion running like a current through sights, sounds, sensations. It’s not that I don’t have these moments any more, but they’re less frequent, less resonant. Watching a child take in the world around them, there’s this tacit understanding that at any time, you could be watching that kid forming a cherished, life-long memory.
If there’s magic in the world, how else would it look?