There are things that can be forgotten. And things that cannot – that sit on dusty shelves like stuffed birds with baleful sideways staring eyes. – Arundhati Roy

Certain moments, certain people, certain things, somehow get etched in our minds very deeply. Come what may, you know you’ll never be able to forgot them. Years later, unexpectedly, while doing something completely unrelated or even while doing absolutely nothing, a memory will emerge from the depths of your mind, leaving either a lingering smile or a painful sigh only to vanish again and resurrect later.

Curiously enough, such instances are never augured by any omens. They just happen. Your path crosses with a stranger who’ll never know that a portion of your mind will now forever be dedicated in remembering him. This is weird as much as it’s enigmatic.

Sometimes, however, they come as a respite from this burden of life.

One such moment changed my life.

I remember vividly, like it was yesterday, how I was driving down to the riverfront with scattered thoughts and tear-filled eyes. I was in desperate need for a break from life. So much had happened. Everything seemed out of control. Yet, life itself was at a standstill. For many months, I’d been feeling like a bystander as my own life passed me by. This night, however, I just couldn’t breath. Hence, the drive. Unfortunately, it was doing nothing to clear my mind. On the contrary, it gave me ideas that are still too scary for me to pen down. Just as I reached my destination and scrambled out of the car to take in the cool breeze, however, my phone chimed. It made me frown as I was quite sure I’d turned it on silent. I hadn’t responded to a single soul that day. Hence, curiousity got the better of me and I squinted to see who the text was from. To this day, I have no idea what unseen force made me respond to it. That person was neither family nor a close friend. He was a mere acquaintance whom I’d met twice as a teenager and who now lived halfway across the world. We’d recently got talking but nothing that warranted a reply from me in the circumstances I was in at that time. Yet, while I ignored every other person, I responded to him. Weirder still was that he immediately gauged something was wrong. Then, even more surprisingly, that stranger proceeded to do everything in his power to lift my mood from halfway across the world. He even managed to coax me into going back home that night which, while I was driving down, I had no intention of doing. That thoughtfulness, that kindness, that sensitiveness and that sensibleness carried me through.

Even now, so many years later, that person still carries me. Of course, I fell in love with him a little after that night. Of course, he still cares for me like his own life was on the line.

Even now, so many years later, I close my eyes and can feel that breeze on my skin, those tears warming my cheeks and that chime ringing in my ears and I know, I’ll be alright.

One unforgettable moment saved my life.

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