While waiting at the baggage carousel, a young girl exclaimed, “It is so shiny.” Her father and the other adult onlookers laughed. Her father corrected, “That is not shiny, it’s really dirty.” She returned a confused yet considerate gaze towards the carousel.
She looked up at me, waiting for my confirmation. I said, “I think it’s shiny.”
Why is it so natural for adults to see only the dirt?
How do adults define the shine and when is it enough to overcome the dirt?
How many times I have seen only the dirt? What eyes are needed to forgive the dirt?
This reflection is not about “what might have been” or even “what is not.” Riding the El while visiting Chicago, I found myself behind a gentleman whose black topcoat sat beside his black attaché and moving around in his hand, the brightest red apple I have ever seen.
He was wrapped in wool from the rust-colored socks to the gray/brown tweed slacks and huge-hooked, high-collared gray sweater. His brown-rimmed spectacles sat on his high, angular nose further solidifying his sophisticated countenance.
I traced his neckline, examining the boundary between flesh and hair, which was classically quaffed and brown, his reddish, well-manicured facial hair lending age and masculinity to his lean frame. The only words I heard were solid, heavy, and sure.
He was the urban man who I thought I would become when I move to Chicago. I am not disappointed that my metamorphosis did not occur, but for a solid 20 minutes, I floated with the man of my inspiration.