December 12, 2017

Sonder





You will see her sitting in the coffee house, reading old books for university. You will see him walking down the city street in a suit that must be so uncomfortable in this weather, conducting business on his phone as he goes. You may think she looks like you wish you had been at that age - spunky, interesting, with a genuine interest in Ancient Greek literature and an ability to read it. You may wonder about him, with your eyes narrowed and a heart too hurt - how many women has he harassed today?

You will not know that she struggles with chronic illness, with a depression that haunts her life like a moon, waxing to pain, waning to darkness, and that it's taking all her strength to hold on to the dream of a university degree, even though she can't imagine her future clearly. You will not suppose all the bandages on her brain.

And you will not know that he has to take a deep, unsteady breath before he talks to anyone, and that his father never had time for him, and that he hugs a pillow when he sleeps because otherwise the chips and shreds of old, cold sorrows that embed his heart will stir, and stab him from within. You might not remember that he isn't a gender, nor a representative of the patriarchy, just a person.

All these things you might get wrong, because you are a tangled-up, intricate, uncertain, vulnerable, real person too.




SONDER: the realisation that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own. (John Koenig)