People die all the time. Life is a lot more fragile than we think. So you should treat others in a way that leaves no regrets. Fairly, and if possible, sincerely. It’s too easy not to make the effort, then weep and wring your hands after the person dies.”
― Haruki Murakami, Dance Dance Dance
This was to be an entirely different post to the one I’m offering today. Something happened to me this afternoon which caused me to shift from my original theme of letting go to this one on Celebrating life.
It’s my last day of my house sitting in Melbourne so I decided to treat myself to lunch at my favourite Indian restaurant the ‘Red Pepper’. Suitably relaxed I sauntered through the crowds of families and Christmas shoppers to Flinders Street Station, that famous Melbourne landmark. There were “Characters” galore along the way and being Melbourne, a protest march against children in detention, moved along Swanston street.
Waiting at the station, I started to reflect,Janus like, on journeys past and upcoming ones. A crowd of commuters gathered as the train started to pull in. I saw the grey jeans move across the driver’s window and heard a terrible “Thwack”. Something terrible had happened as we collectively let out a shocked groan.
In that moment I thought of ‘Anna Karenina’ and the recent Australian version of Tolstoy’s story of love, obsession and love “The Beautiful Lie”. The story starts with a death at a railway station and ends with the main character in the story, Anna, dying in the same way.
“Are you alright? “ A lovely middle aged woman started to ask her fellow passengers as we all stood there numb. I couldn’t help but cry. We started to connect and share our horror at that dreadful sound. The attendants moved swiftly to take the man from the track. He was alive! Somehow we all felt better. But evidence of that horrible sound was seen in the shattered window on the Driver’s side. The police were there in an instant and the paramedics soon after. Still sharing with my companion as we were moved to another platform, where, unfortunately we had an even clearer view of the bloody scene. How had it happened? An attendant told us that it wasn’t an attempted suicide. Did he lose his balance? Was he distracted? Did he have a seizure? And of course would he survive such a bone crunching experience?
I would never know the answer to these questions. On the way home, my companion Jennifer and I shared some deep conversations about the fragility of life and the importance of taking risks.
So here’s to life, a little thing, a big thing.