And I didn’t know what you thought as you turned in the moonlight and let the darkness take you in. I thought I saw a glimmer of sadness flicker behind your eyes, but it was fleeting as your face crinkled into the very essence of life itself.
Your smile swallowed me whole. It lit the alleyway, dark and musty, but sweet and succulent – all at the same time. Such beauty, juxtaposed against the raw truth of survival, and the contrasting lack of.
You waved me goodbye. I kept seeing your face, long after we rounded the corner and you disappeared from view. And that night I cried for you.
I don’t know what you go back to, or what waits for you at home after the darkness steers you there and the night steals the day. I don’t know if you have a bed to call your own, or a mother who wraps you up in her warmth, and fills you with love. I don’t know if you ever got to be a child. I don’t know if you are warm and dry at night. Or if you go to sleep hungry, or full.
But I know your sweetness. I know the language of your eyes. I know your smile would light the darkest hour. And your wisdom is profound. I also know your innocence is framed by suffering, though it has not yet tainted you. I hope it never does. You are not hardened. No. Not yet.
I want to come back for you and sweep you up. Shield your memories from all you have seen. Carry for you all the injustices, and all the tears you have cried on the inside. But I know I cannot. And you know too. And that is why you waved, with happiness on the outside, and sadness within. Because I can’t save you, and you dared not ask me to. That, we both understood.
In one day you crept under my skin and seeped into my very core. Over thousands of miles and wild seas, I will think of you. I will send you all the love I can find. It’s crazy how just one moment can change it all.
I wonder what life will mean for you. I wonder if you will always smile with such kindness. I wonder if you will fall in love. I wonder if wisdom will always besiege you.
I have met many people on these travels so far but you, and your fourteen years of life, grabbed something in my heart that hadn’t been grabbed before. And now for some reason, you’re in my thoughts…
I hope I lit your day, even half as much as you lit mine.