Intimate Strangers

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A stranger is like a poem in a foreign language.

And for an organism such as myself, who walks through the bookstore allowing my fingers to dance to each novel’s pages, a foreign poem – a promise of potential – would have me begging for more any time of the day.

The words may carry different accents and force my tongue to twist differently, but at each word my heart beats the same universal beat which is common to all of us. And it is this beat that we so often ignore when we find ourselves surrounded by other beating hearts – strangers.

Stranger. A small word in a big world of connotations, drilled into our minds from the day we were born. I was taught not to speak to them, not to take anything from them, because they are dangerous.

Strange, I am a stranger too.

As a stranger I find it strange to shut my ears and refuse to recognize the beating heart right beside me.

And yet, relief is made tangible and immensely audible as the three strangers sigh when they hurriedly exit the elevator. Suffocated by the sound of these beating hearts and still, having remained silent.

Why do we remain strangers? Are we really so obedient that our parents’ teachings become the rules that govern our lives? What can possibly be so dangerous about them? About us?

Still, as strange as this may sound, I enjoy being a stranger. And I am thankful for strangers. For it is only thanks to strangers that I can step into an elevator and create a story for each person there. Because they remain strangers, their lives in my imagination will never cease to exist. Their dreams, wishes and hopes will always seem beautiful. Their beating hearts will always, like a harmonious scent, sweeten the awkward atmosphere in the elevator.

Indeed, a stranger is like a poem in a foreign language. Beautiful because it’s a poem. Fascinating, because it’s foreign.

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