Off guard moments


I get on the bus this morning, my mind present yet far away. The morning is lovely. I think I’m going to watch the sky today. I have a book in my bag that I have loved on for weeks. Reading the last chapter though means saying goodbye and I don’t want to say goodbye. Not just yet. I’m not ready. So, yes, I think I’m going to watch the sky today. It looks so pretty – that endless blue that pulls you close and tucks you in.

There is so much on my mind. Things that are pushing against my brain, oppressing me. The sky on the other hand, is the opposite. It is big and wide and I see a promise of freedom in it. I want to be part of it. I want to be be free. I want to fly away, to be in and with the sky, to be the sky. But I’m tethered here. On this bus.

But it’s a beautiful morning and I have the sky. I should watch the sky. I’m lost in trying to find myself that I miss the moment he takes the empty seat next to me. I shuffle myself deeper into my space to create room for him. Some days I don’t like sharing seats. On other days it is the beat of my heart. And then there are those days when I don’t care either way. I don’t know what kind of day it is today. So I scoot and he sits. I want to do more. I want to say to him:

“It’s not you, I’m just trying to make room for you.”

But I say nothing and I hope to my core that he knows why I’m shuffling around. I still haven’t determined whether it is an I-love-sharing-my-seat kind of day. I decide to leave it alone and go back to watching the sky. He fidgets and shifts and fidgets some more. I’m distracted by the movements. I’m mesmerised by his trying to fill his seat more fully, more comfortably. And I start to watch him from the corner of my eye. I don’t know the moment I forget myself but all of a sudden I’m not watching the sky anymore. I’m transfixed by our synchronised breathing. In and out. Rising chests in perfect waves. I feel his hand brush my shoulder, my arm as he shifts yet again, still searching for the edges of his seat.

I like the feel of this stranger sitting next to me, absorbing everything around me except himself. I forget myself. But even though all I feel is him, it is I who is coming up for air. I, who is much more visible. I meet a part of myself that startles me into awe. In that exquisite moment, I don’t remember to be self-conscious or to hold my body tightly to make space for everybody else but myself. I catch myself leaning into thin air and floating above all the constraints and shackles. I like the me that I feel finding all the curves of this moment and filling them voluptuously, freely.

And it settles on me quietly – I like the woman that I am when I am off guard. I have been meeting her a lot lately. In seemingly random places. Places that are not private and I marvel at her audacity to show up. Here she is, uncovering herself on a bus, showing all the bits of her that society has always advised to beat into hiding.

“Look the part,” they say, “tuck that thing in, ” they say,  but they never tell you that the only part to look is yourself. Everything else gives way in time. It is unreliable and transient.

I watch myself see myself in this moment, released and unbound and I like myself unguarded; when I step out of the battle, imagined or real, and simply show up.

I feel him shift again but I am distracted by how beautiful I am. How beautiful we are together. Breathing. Together – in and out, in and out. Shoulders, arms and legs touching at the seams and I am amazed yet again at moments like these that remind me  how human I am; how human we all are.

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