Sitting in the passenger seat of our car, we sped along on a three lane highway. A car, to our right, traveled just a little ahead of us. I looked at the back of the driver’s head. He was looking in front of him, at the road that lay before him. He didn’t see me. He didn’t hear me. His windows were closed, as were ours . . . and yet . . . he turned around and looked into my eyes. How did he know I was looking at him? What sixth sense allows us to know that someone is connecting with us, either on purpose or by accident?
The man in that car had an entire life that is unknown to me. As far as I know, I have never met him and probably never will. Yet for one moment, our lives connected.
What of the friends I had in childhood? Those who were so close to me when I was a school girl. Those whom I shared so much with. They have gone on to have lives without me. They have not ceased to exist simply because I cannot see them, hear them, touch them. They live lives of joys and sorrows and perhaps our lives, through the magic of Facebook, even touch every now and then. Yet my world is really limited to what I can see, hear, feel, touch, and taste. So when they leave my presence, for me, they do cease to exist, except perhaps in my memory or thought.
What of my children? They live because of me. I nurtured them until they could stand on their own and live apart from me. They now have experiences that I am not able to see or hear. Do I still exist for them when they are away from me? Surely, they know I am here. That my life will go on, as will theirs. That is the way it should be.
What of those who once loved me? Those who have now left this life to move on to what comes next. Do they still exist? Do they know that I still exist? Are they closer to me now then they were in life? They live in my thoughts and in my memories. I see them in my dreams. Do they see me?
What of those who will exist in the generations to come? Will they know me? Will they wonder who I was and if I am watching over them? Will they know that I once lived?
What of you, my reader? You who have found me through my writing? There are seven billion people on this Earth and most will live out their days without knowing that I existed. But, somehow, you have found me. Through my writing you have looked into my eyes. Without being in my presence you have existed and lived full lives. Some of you have lived in distant countries with cultures so very different from mine and yet, we have connected. How amazing is that? Do you feel it? Whomever you are, my reader, for this brief moment we connect. For this moment you see me, even if I cannot see you.
Excerpts from Walt Whitman’s “Crossing Brooklyn Ferry” (c. 1900):
It avails not, neither time or place—distance avails not; I am with you, you men and women of a generation, or ever so many generations hence;
I project myself—also I return—I am with you, and know how it is.
Just as you feel when you look on the river and sky, so I felt;
Just as any of you is one of a living crowd, I was one of a crowd; . . .
Closer yet I approach you;What thought you have of me, I had as much of you—I laid in my stores in advance, I consider’d long and seriously of you before you were born. Who was to know what should come home to me?Who knows but I am enjoying this?Who knows but I am as good as looking at you now, for all you cannot see me?
http://www.theresadodaro.com Author of The Tin Box Trilogy