In a city like this you meet new people on an everyday basis. Maybe all you ever did was glance a little smile to each other, maybe you talked together about something very important, or something totally insignificant. The point is, you can meet someone for only few seconds, and still they can manage to make an impression on you. That’s exactly what happened to me a few days ago…
I walked onto the subway when I glimpsed a vacant space on the narrow train. Since I was going far, I decided I might as well sit down since no one else seemed eager to take the seat. The lady next to me had dark skin and was of solid construction. She sat next to a white, older lady with silver hair tied up in a low bun. Normally I'd plugged my earbuds in and fall into a daydream, but for a change, my phone had died half an hour prior.
As usual, I observed the people around me, but my attention was sharpened on these two ladies next to me. The dark lady chatted and laughed with the elderly woman, and her energy made me feel the kindness and warmth in her. Somehow I wondered how these two souls had found each other, across different age and color. One white, one black, one young, one old.
As I was trapped in a whirlwind of thoughts I suddenly heard a voice in the distance "oh my gosh, you got such cute freckles on your nose!". I paused for a second and wondered if someone was talking to me, or if I simply had been too egotistical to think that someone actually did. I glanced quickly to the left, then to the right, when I suddenly made eye contact with this black lady who had been sitting next to me the whole trip.
“What? Me?" I said with assumably the most dubious look she’d ever seen before. "Yes mami!" She said. "You look so beautiful without make-up, I wish I saw more women walk around like that. Your little freckles on your nose are so beautiful”. “Nowadays everybody’s trying to do their make-up to make it look natural, but girl, the only thing that's natural is not wearing any makeup.” I agreed with her before I stated that I didn’t especially like my freckles. ”Honey, it’s those little spots that makes you, you. It makes you stand out from the crowd. Embrace it. It's beautiful.”
For a second I thought I was going to slip off the orange subway seat I was sitting on. What I’d seen as flaws, was beauty in her eyes. I felt the train brake and saw it approaching my stop. I smiled at her and thanked her for what she had said to me. "I'll remember you" were the words I managed to say before I shoveled my way through the crowd that stood in front of the doorway.
Such a small incident, but it left a big impression on me. I realize that my generation defines beauty with words as perfect, flawless and spotless. We’ll do anything to fit into society’s perception of beautiful and “perfect.” But we seem to have forgotten that beauty has nothing to do with perfection. It’s when a person is their authentic self and and carries their flaws with pride, that the true beauty emerges.