Monday, December 10, 2007

my moment tonight........

Slivering off one moment
while surrounded by
familiar faces in an unfamiliar setting
revealing hardship
lost time
grey aging scars of survival
of a hard life

misfits in oversized winter coats
many whom I know
their stories I have heard over the years
enjoying a moment of fellowship
and a warm festive meal
accompanied by piano tunes of the season.

I am there to help serve the turkey dinner.
My eyes not resting as I survey a crowd of faces
It's my nature
And I see some who have recognized me
as we distantly acknowledge each other with a smile.

"You look familiar"......she states
quizzical looks focused on me as I sit down at the table
with dessert....

"Are you a doctor? How do I know you?"
Squinting, thinking, peering at one another.

"No, I'm a counsellor. We've met I think.
You look familiar to me too...I'm just wondering......"

Two beings caught in the moment before recognition.....
Then the light bulb goes on.......
her youth behind the grey pallor of rooming house living
traces through
her voice, one of assurance
friendly, engaging familiar voice,
familiar sounding even after 15 years.
I remember

"Did you take a Life Skills class years ago?
I think you were in my Life Skills class." stirring of memory.......
not right away.....maybe i'm wrong.
Maybe I've mistaken her for someone else.
It has been a long time and now I'm doubting myself,
my own people memorybank.
But I try again..........

"It would've been about 15 years ago, I think......downtown?
Remember? was a month long course...."
Still quizzical looks, but determination settles in.

"Or maybe not...... "It was a long time ago....perhaps I'm mistaken..."

She's trying very hard to place me......
still looking, and checking back in thought time.
Then I say.....
"I'm Dana." (as I silently thank my parents once again for giving me a unique name)
"Are you're D____ aren't you?"
Her survivor guard melts away,
a smile of recognition lights up her face
erases some of the hardship
Her arms come forward with a bursting hug.....

"Where have you been, she asks. I have so much to tell you!"

We will meeting again, just the two of us over coffee in the New Year. I am looking forward to an endless conversation with her, and to find out what happened........... she is the last person I expected to see still living one step away from homelessness. I hope between the two of us, we can rectify this.

This week's prompt at Writer's Island is "moment." And, boy oh boy did I have a lot of ideas for this one...........which I think will filter out of me over the course of the Christmas season. Past moments seem to accumulate at this time of year as we reflect on old ones as well as create new ones. For more interesting moments, check out Writer's Island.


gautami tripathy said...

I got nostalgic reading this post. Past moments are ever so precious. We always keep those safe in our minds.

unconnected moments

Karen said...

I'm sure that lady will remember "that moment" when recognition dawned and she realised where she knew you from. Obviously she was very pleased to see you so you must have had a profound effect on her.

Rambler said...

the line
misfits in oversized winter coats

stood out.. So many interpretations I could make. amazing writing

paisley said...

this was an amazingly beautiful emotion laden piece of writing.. thank you for sharing this with me...

JP (mom) said...

What a wonderful moment - it's a privledge to have shared in it through your writing. Peace & love to you, Dana. xx, JP/deb

Unknown said...

A moment when the past becomes the present once more.



Mary Timme said...

Oh, a special moment indeed! Thanks!

awareness said...

Gautami....I love how the simplest thing can transport you back into memory. Even though this woman's face looked vaguely familiar to me and mine to was her voice that brought our connection back to me. And it was my name which triggered hers.

Gypsy....I ran 25 back to back Life Skills courses, which in reality were like group therapy all day long for 4 weeks at a time. We covered a lot of ground. It was where i learned about my love of working with adults and my love of facilitating groups. They were all unique in their own I usually find it relatively easy to recognize someone from those days even though it was now 15+ years ago. The people in those programs, and the whole experience had a profound effect on me as well. We were definately learning together.

Rambler...thank you. I was also thinking of using the term ragamuffins, in an endearing way, because when you look out onto a large group of people, all of whom are somewhat disconnected to the larger community, you can't help be see and feel the misfitness of it.
It was funny.....later in the conversation with this woman and with the others sitting with her (whom I knew as well) they were kidding me that I worked for "the enemy".....the welfare office. Then one of them called me a misfit!! I told them that there are colleagues who see me that way too!! I am one......and I think that is why I was able to fit comfortably in that dining hall last night. Once I sat down, I could've stayed all night yapping away. :)

paisley....thank you. I love how beauty can be found anywhere we deem it to. It is when beauty is woven into grace where it feels so profound. I felt a bit of that last night.

Deb.....I'm glad you were able to share in it. With a writing piece like this, I find it challenging to find the right balance between description and brevity. I tend to want to write so much more than is needed, but I feel like I may have got it close to being right this time around.'re exactly is how it felt too. years melted off of us. And yet, I felt a strong sense of sadness, because I really had assumed that this person had moved up and beyond. The last I had heard about her she was enrolled at University. Bright, intelligent woman.........I guess her health must be in the way.

Mary.....glad you dropped by to read my moment.

Preethi said...

Such a profound post... and past memories are indeed beautiful...

Tumblewords: said...

It appears that much of the world is a step away from homeless. And some of us are nearing that age when memory is harder to define. Great post! Great! Love the photo!

awareness said...

Welcome Preethi and thank you.

Sue...Much of the world is, and we need to be aware of this don't we? I often tell the people I work with that we are all one paycheck away from being on the other side of the desk.
The photo? I love it too!! thanks! :)

paris parfait said...

Oh Dana, what a beautiful story! I have missed you and your incredible posts. Hoping to catch up now. xo

Open Grove Claudia said...

How very cool! Good for you. I am always so hesitant to out myself or my past clients.

Marja said...

Oh Dana what a beatiful moment. To have such connection with people which goes beyond the surface of their hardships is truly admirable

UL said...

To recognize a face from 15 years ago says much about you and your personality, it shows lots of compassion and care with which you interact with a person, admiration for the effort you put into your cause, I am glad we met...thank you Dana. Very nice name. What does it mean?


Lucy said...

what a wonderful moment, so happy you remembered each other. hope your future meeting will be memorable too. I hope you will be able to rectify the situation. you are a caring person :)