When you live long enough you collect moments —like a waterfall pools at the end of its descent. Or a nebula gathers more dust and gases.
You collect awkward moments like your first French kiss. Walking down the hallway at work or school and discovering the 4-foot trail of toilet paper fastened to the underside of your right shoe. Or stopping at a friend’s house in the midst of a dinner party that – oops — you weren’t invited to.
You collect serene moments. Like listening really hard on a still dark winter night and hearing the susurration of snowflakes as they land on top of each other, building miniature masterpieces in the snow. Tender moments. Holding a lover’s hand, knowing that person really love you – really love you. Like, wow.
And embarrassing moments like lactating through a white shirt at your spouse’s annual picnic. Forwarding a private email to the very. wrong. person. Having your luggage burst open and spill its guts on the revolving carousel at the airport.
When you live long enough you collect sickening moments like the too-late sight of a squirrel compelled to scamper across the street in front of your car. Or the loud smack of an open hand on a child’s cheek by an exhausted parent at the grocery store. And subsequent wail.
When you live long enough you become the great collector or time elapsed — the good, bad, the indifferent. The bored moments. The scary. Confusing. Maddening. Lovely tender wild private lonely.
They are moments, each one unique and perfect, collecting to comprise our unique and imperfect lives.
A friend lost her 16-year-old son recently as he was out with a friend, collecting his moments. I like to think they were happy moments, his last. With a friend, exploring. Moonshine beaming down and caressing his head.
His family and friends are collecting their grief, their memories, their anger at this curtailing of promise and possibility.
They had their moments with him. Good bad, beautiful. hard. stunning. ironic. loving whimsical. Odd tragic thing about those moments of this young man’s life. There weren’t enough. Not nearly enough.