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Missed Connections

Friday, December 18, 2020

 



Did you ever meet someone during your childhood and realized you and this person have an amazing connection that if allowed to flourish, would result in a beautiful strong friendship? I most definitely did. Looking at kids now, I wish I had a phone number I could have given these girls as they affected my life for a short period but their memory is still fresh in my mind. I wonder what they are doing and where they are now. Most of all I wish they are happy and thriving in this crazy world. 


    One of the girls I met in elementary school and we became friends in grade three. By the time I reached grade five, we were really close friends who would enjoy sitting and chatting by the sandbox and talking about everything and anything. My relationship with her was different than the dynamic with my other childhood friends and I felt as if I could pour my heart out to her and she would not use this against me. She made me feel safe in a world where I was unsure of who I could trust. I had such vivid memories of my mother picking me up during lunchtime once a week to take me for my weekly seasonal allergy injections. These were bittersweet days for me because I hate being poked but I looked forward to the Burger King meal I would get for lunch. Once I returned to school, I would run towards the sandbox and find my friend waiting for me there. I would sit there talking to her while mindlessly grabbing on to the warm dirt and squishing it between my fingers. I watched as it oozed out from the gaps between the fingers. There was something so soothing about the grainy feel running across my hands. I would continue to rake the earth until I reached the cooler, damp earth a few inches down. The cool earth soothed my fingers so I would clasp it tightly in my hand and squeeze it so it would burst out from between my fingers. 



Photo by Jens TheeƟ on Unsplash

    Unfortunately, this girl moved before our grade five graduation and I lost contact with her. Since she left before we had our pictures taken, the only memory I have of her is what her face looked like back then and there was no way to reconnect. When Facebook became popular in 2007, I tried desperately to find her but was unsuccessful. For a few months, I thought I found someone whose name matched hers exactly but she did not recognize my name or story so I was once again left heartbroken. The strange thing about this entire situation was the fact that nobody remembered her as I did. Some of my friends recalled a girl of that name but don't know where she went afterward all because of the same reason, nobody remained in touch with her. Nevertheless, the lasting impression she left on my heart remains ingrained to this day. Even now I can remember her thick long dark hair tied in a ponytail moving slightly with the breeze, her beautiful brown skin paying homage to her South Asian roots, and the way her almond eyes sparkled when she laughed. I hope she continued to leave her mark on the hearts she connected with after.


    Another instance of a missed connection was even more fleeting than the last. I was playing in the Dreamer's Play Village in the Woodbine Mall Fantasy Fair. After Wonderland, this was my favorite place to go although I am sure my parents disagree with this sentiment. I am sure many new rides have been added to this wondrous place inside the mall but some of my favorites were the bumper cars, Airforce airplanes, and of course, the antique carousel. My parents normally refused to pay for rides here because they were too expensive for the experience so I would gaze wistfully at the children with their happy smiles sitting where I would dream of and enjoying their life. Some days, when lady luck would shine her fortune on me, my mother would agree to one or two rides before we left. On this particular happy day, my mother decided I could roam around with a few dollars and choose some rides to occupy myself with while she finished her shopping. This was a brilliant idea because I tend to wander and get lost when I am bored and make her shopping trip longer than it needed to be. She knew I would not leave this place and was old enough to be left on my own. 


Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

    I don't actually remember what age I was at this moment in time but that doesn't matter anyway. I wandered around the Fantasy Fair, ecstatic, and indecisive. Should I pick my usual favorites or try something new? Which rides would give me the best value and longest play time? Yes, I calculated it all in my head as I skipped cheerfully through the Midway games and strolled by the bumper cars. I recall the place having the very distinct scent of smelly kids that was familiar from school, the smell of socks, and something else I cannot quite describe in words. If you ever walk into an elementary school and into the classrooms, you will hit with this particular scent and know exactly what I am talking about. As I crossed the train tracks, I paused by the Dreamer's Play Village and observed the children playing there. I learned that one ticket would allow me to play for one hour. This was perfect! 


    I cheerfully handed over my ticket and began my journey into new, uncharted territory. I pretended I was an adventurer exploring new lands and conquering difficult terrains. I was so absorbed in my own world that I barely heard the "hello" directed at me. I stopped abruptly and looked around curiously wondering what spirit pulled me out of my thoughts. It was a girl who looked to be the same age as me with dark brown eyes gazing at me in a curious manner. I mumbled a "hello" back and was about to continue on my way when she asked if we could play together. I was hesitant at first because I had a great storyline going that would keep me occupied for the next hour or so and there were so many tasks I needed to accomplish. I wondered if she would play along and if she possessed a robust enough imagination as I did. Eventually, I decided it would be fun to create a joint venture and tackle the world in a team. We began playing and somehow we synced our thoughts together in perfect unison as we battled dragons and monsters and climbed our way to the top. We reached a portion of the play area that was made of a rope net. Climbing up wasn't as daunting as trying to lower myself down and I became unsure if I would be able to. This wondrous girl noticing my hesitation and fear decided to go down first and coax me onto the net exclaiming that this was the final challenge to conquer this kingdom as ours. I stared at her thinking she was crazy if she thought that would work but somehow I fell into the trap and slowly edged my way down. After that moment, I felt as if I could trust this mysterious person with my life. We laughed, frolicked, and chatted our way through the lands and I wished that time would stop. Unfortunately, just as our friendship strengthened, this new friend of mine left as her time drew to an end. I gazed after her wistfully wishing we would meet again just as magically as today and that we could continue where we left off. I played alone for the remaining amount of time feeling the loss of my newfound companion. Somehow, she left me with a beautiful and happy memory that I carry with me to this day.


Photo by Nathan Dumlao on Unsplash

    Looking back at these vivid and cheerful memories, I grasp on an important lesson. Welcoming new strangers into my life can result in the formation of beautiful friendships that I will cherish forever. Although these moments of connection may be rare and far in between, when the sparks fly and a bond is formed, opening up to the new individual becomes worth it. It is difficult for me to talk to new people or just chat with someone in a room full of strangers and I usually need some coaxing. But sometimes, special humans find me and something magical and inexplicable occurs. Traveling helped me come out of my shell and gain the confidence to talk to strangers and open up my bubble. I recommend everyone give this a chance because you never know where or when you will meet someone who will leave a permanent impression in your heart and mind. I have friends all over the world and even if I do not meet them on a regular basis, I know that when I do, we will pick up right where we left off. Also, in this era of brilliant technological innovation, there are a multitude of ways to remain connected and engaged until an opportunity presents where a meeting in person can be made. So take the time out to appreciate those around you and those with whom you remain bonded with despite the distance and continue to engrave beautiful memories in this short time we have together with each other.


   

Until Next Time,





Photo by Cristina Gottardi on Unsplash

4 comments:

  1. I loved reading your post. It is true some people who enter our life leave a deep impact on us and we cherish the memories. Please continue sharing your sentiments

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  2. Wow I loved the journey you took us on while reading . These childhood friends are the absolute best and I wish we could reconnect .

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  3. Yes I have a missed connection. My best friend from kindergarten and grade 1. We were inseparable and then she moved across the country and I never saw her or spoke to her again. I tried to find her on social media years later with no success.

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  4. I think sometimes people come in our life just to leave those moments for us to cherish and than they move on. So it is a missed connection but a forever connection. Thank you for your post.

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