Summer, my favorite season of the year (minus the scorching heat), not because I come from a hot country (Zambia) but because of how beautiful and lively everything and everyone seems to appear. The blue skies, green trees and the almost smiles on people’s faces you get to see here and there.
Summer has always been full of beautiful surprises for me, for the most part. 2020 was a year which left many bound and confined to one place—The four corners of their walls. I wasn’t an exception. But when summer knocked at my door the course of events took a shift. It came with eased COVID restrictions, which meant we were finally permitted to somewhat experience some normalcy. To some degree. And beloveds that is when I tasted true freedom after being isolated for majority of the months, perhaps not isolated but more so, social-distancing. Which frankly to me is the equivalent of isolation.
And once the regulations signaled, exclaiming to the public (in my translation)— “You are free birds”, that my friends was my cue to have the much needed summer fun I had longed for. It entailed hosting people on Couchsurfing, meeting all sorts of individuals from different backgrounds, walks of life and even temperaments. Traveling here and there within the Polish borders by myself—To the Seaside, Historical sights, Beaches, Museums, Events, the whole shebang. It’s one that will forever go down in my History Book. New friends, new hobbies, more growth, more knowledge and maybe even more wiser….Ahah.
Nevertheless, this summer (2021) has not been any different, or must I say, even better, the only difference however, is, it’s still ongoing. I like to think my summers are the start of my New Year, this is a period/season when I tend to come out of my shell. And this summer I eventually did so in the month of July. But more specifically, one particular weekend.
The start of July greeted me with an adventure to the Polish mountains, where I hiked for the first time and surprised myself with how much momentum I had within me. Made new friends in the most unexpected way, ate assorted dishes (not to mention my taste buds are eclectic), had many conversations and a good laugh. One of my favorite memories, thus far. But saying bye is always bitter-sweet, and yes, even though it was a 4 day trip I embarked on, it still struck a cord and will forever remain so.
After my trip had come to a close, I made my way back to Warsaw (my home, for now). Upon my return to Warsaw, I got my second shot of the Pfizer vaccine, caught up with a friend and picked up from where we left off. Did some bulk buying for my groceries and also caught up with some much needed sleep. But, as the month continued to unravel I found myself having to be here and there, to ensure my errands were all being tackled pedantically. And also the never ending, we need to catch-up sessions with my friends, not that I’m complaining.
Now, fast forward to my favorite weekend this July. I know! I know! July is not over yet, but hey, what can I say, as long as that day hasn’t come yet this one will remain my favorite. July the 17th went from, I will probably stay home and do nothing while I wait for the time to arrive to meet my friends later in the evening….To, Wow, a lot can change in a short period of time. And that’s exactly how it went down, in a nutshell. I woke up to a text message from someone whom I met as a stranger, initially. The message went something like, “I will be going to such and such a place, they have a great view and nice drinks, I would invite you if you were free”. My answer was an obvious yes. It’s a long story how we met but let’s just say we did.
I am one of those people who believes in giving everyone the benefit of the doubt. Well, being too trusting of people can sometimes backfire, and this time wasn’t one of those times. The chat from the get go was top-notch, from the text messages prior to our face to face meeting to the very first Hello in person. Cool, calm and collected is how I would sum the whole interaction. I arrive at the venue of invitation, the reception of warmth overwhelms me, both from the beautiful view of the Sky-High building and my now friend.
I don’t know about you but, as an over-thinker I like to calculate everything. Plan out how things will go from A to Z. Not much of an optimist but maybe not a pessimist either, I lie in the middle of the spectrum. To my surprise everything went better than I planned out. A conversation filled with substance and some good banter, no awkwardness and thankfully no crickets sound(because there was no awkward moments). It all looked to be smooth sailing. Some might deem me to be a dreamer but if that’s the case then so be it, but it almost felt like a movie and as I write this, I am LOLing hard. But really, it did.
Have you ever met someone and just felt as though you have known them for ages? To me it didn’t even feel like a feeling because feelings are fickle and sometimes can be deceiving in some way. I am not one to use my words lightly, this was more like a soul connection. Deep like the ocean. Not an infatuation. But it obviously wasn’t instantaneous, at least not for me. It was gradual, it happened minute by minute. And I am trying hard not to sound cliché or cheesy cause it’s so cringe but here it goes, I believe it is the first time in my life since I truly ever properly connected with a human on a soul level. Yes, I sound cheesy to some of you lot. And no, it’s not some fairytale or love story….it’s just a tale of how sometimes life’s mystery can be beautiful.
As the evening unfolds we hop from one place to another, and so does the chat.
A gleaming smile hits my face as I continue to be awed by each and every event that takes places. It’s as though my life is being projected on some screen as it all unveils. Just pure connection. Sorry for my limited choice of words but, that is as simple as I can get to put it plainly. I have to reiterate myself cause, how can I not? For the first time in forever, I was able to open up to a stranger so freely and just allow myself to be. His eyes felt like a safe place to gaze into— warm and kind, accepting, sympathetic, genuine and even caring. My shy self sometimes couldn’t bear the stare only because I’m not used to it. But My God, he stared at me as though I was some kind of precious jewel. And it made me feel special.
The way he carried himself is almost like he had no worry in the world, not that he is nonchalant. But more so to do with his cool-calm-and collected demeanour.
It was a 2 day date which will remain to be one of my favorite ones, hopefully forever, but I can’t promise that. Talking about cultures, religions, people, wining and dining. Going to church, playing mini golf, giving each other backhanded compliments, being misguided by my no-sense of direction radar. Tiredness written all over our faces and yet, still being able to laugh it off. Again, it’s not a fairytale but he definitely is a top lad. On my highest shelf at this given moment. It was different although brief. It wasn’t a feeling….It was a soul connection.
Even though we are quite different as people we still shared a special bond. And the moment I dreaded eventually came. I was drenched in sadness as we bade goodbye. The curtain fell to the ground and it was as clear as day. I knew that moment was coming but I didn’t want to think it would. And at the back of my head I asked myself, “When will I ever get such a soul connection again?” Mind you, I have had many connections in my 20 something years of living, but not like this one. Not one which left me gob smacked.
We sat on the bench awaiting for me to finish writing him a small note, which he equally did (in return). I looked him in the eyes, put it in the palm of his hand and he read it hurriedly with much exuberance (and vice versa). But like all stories there is an end and I wasn’t looking forward to this one. We stood up, he hugged me tightly, looked me in the eyes and kissed me goodbye and a last kiss landing on my forehead. It was then that the rude awakening of reality dawned. Alas! But it was going to happen anyway.
When I tell you I am at a loss for words with this interaction, I really mean it. As a writer it is a common sentiment to utter such words, but this time it really hit home for me.
I learned so much about life in such a short period of time. I opened my eyes to the possibility of thinking, people like this do exist. It was God’s way of whispering to me, “There still is a glimmer of hope after-all”, and for me that gift came wrapped in a human form. Yes, perhaps it was only meant to be for 2 days but it is one which will remain engrained for a lifetime.
Wholesome and endearing.