Weary from my exertions in the gym, I shuffled my feet across the bus stop to plop myself unabashedly onto a vacant bench. Pumping iron is, and always will be a welcome distraction for me. From the doldrums of working life, and from the frustrations which life may present me. My mind drifted off in anticipation of what was lying on the dinner table later when I got home, prompted by my tummy which was rumbling in indignation.
“Tap… Tip… Tap…”
My eyes refocused as I watched a couple in their 30s alight from a bus. They were holding walking sticks and prodded them ahead cautiously as they tried to get a bearing on their surroundings. Their eyes were squinted close and the lady clung close to the man, as if she was afraid of losing him. The man led the way, angling his path ever so slightly whenever his stick hit a curb or a column. The couple slowly but steadily circumvented the obstacles before them, footsteps always in sync and in step. They were blind, I realized. Both of them.
The man had a rather serene expression on his face, one of quiet confidence which seemed to instill confidence in me too as I looked at him. The lady also had an equally tranquil look, but this time she held a faint smile on her lips as she walked with her partner. It was almost as if she had total faith in his stewardship as long as she was beside him. It then occurred to me that I had assumed, or rather, realized that they were a couple based on their expressions.
A wave of profound respect washed over me as the scene registered inside my head. “That’s really amazing,” I thought. “But also kind of sad,” whispered a thought at the back of my head momentarily. I quickly chided myself silently, for this couple did not need my sympathy. No, don’t be condescending dude. The truth of the matter is that either one of them is probably stronger than I will ever be, mentally and psychologically, I told myself. I cannot begin to fathom what it is like to live my life in total darkness, now that I have experienced the gift of sight.
I decided not to stare too long at the couple for it seemed rude if I did. I glanced around and noticed that some people were casting concerned looks at the couple. Although part of me wanted to ask if they needed help, I knew that any worries were unfounded for they were more than capable of taking care of themselves. As long as they held each other close.
Perhaps this is unconditional love, I thought to myself as I closed my eyes. Untainted by the superficiality of this world, untouched by any materialistic wants and needs, undefiled by any negative preconceptions which a seeing person may possess. Living in a world of pitch darkness is much like a defiant disregard of judgement, for what prejudice can there be when you cannot see flaws?
What kind of heartfelt stories might they share with one another? What sweet nothings might they whisper to each other? Or perhaps their relationship is one which transcends beyond speech, almost like a telepathic link that develops after two individuals spend too much time together. Or maybe a knowing touch of the hand is all that it takes to replace verbal communication. What if being unseeing actually uncovers the essence of a true relationship between two individuals – one defined by undistracted listening and genuine touch?
Perhaps this couple would know the answer to that question, of what it really means to have a soulmate. One who literally follows you into the dark and stands by you through thick and thin… albeit out of necessity.
I opened my eyes and turned around. They were already almost out of my sight. I smiled in my heart. As long as they don’t let go.