Tale of an adventure - meeting Everyday people wherever they are

100 Strangers, 100 Personalities, 100 Stories

welcome to yet another episode

Photos taken: 03/21/2024 12:26:26 (March 21, 2024)
Published: Thursday, March 28, 2024

In the waning days of March, yesterday’s murky and rain-soaked weather lingered, casting a dreary pall over the city. Though the morning had begun with a similar drizzle, a shaft of sunlight soon pierced the clouds. The sun, ever persistent, emerged, determined to illuminate the world once more, painting the sky with a hopeful wash of gold. Winter’s icy grip, however, tightened, nights stretching longer, and days dwindling into fleeting moments. Soon, this corner of the world would be enveloped in the full embrace of winter.

With this seasonal shift in mind, I decided to pack my backpack and venture out. Time was more generous today; I arrived at the station with a minute to spare. The train seen from a distance entering the platform from the other end, slowly screeched to a halt, a metallic groan echoed throughout. As always, I ascended to the train’s top deck, seeking solace in the elevated view. There, bathed in sunlight, a single seat on the left at the rear end beckoned. The warmth of the sun seeped through the cool, air-conditioned compartment, a comforting contrast.

Somewhere in the middle of the train—perhaps the third or fourth carriage—people bustled about. The usual drowsiness settled over me as I boarded. Resting against the compartment wall, I closed my eyes, lulled by the rhythmic sway of the train. But the procession through a series of tunnels began shortly after. And as we plunged into the tunnel’s depths, soothing darkness comforted my eyes but I yearned for the warmth.

Time flowed—a half-hour, perhaps—before the tunnel’s embrace released me. And the train emerged into the daylight as the network ended. Disrupting my half-slumber, the harsh light intruded. Too much brightness assaulted my eyes as I neared Central Station. The dazzling sunlight finally shattered my drowsiness. With a couple of yawns, I shook off the remnants of sleep and sat upright. One more stop, and I would disembark at Museum Station.

Exiting the train, inertia still clinging, I stepped into Hyde Park. The morning sun painted the landscape, casting long shadows across the grass. The park remained blissfully devoid of lunchtime crowds – an influx of office workers from the nearby towers – who hadn’t yet descended for their midday refuge, seeking solace on benches or sprawling on the grass, some with books in hand, seeking solace in fictional worlds. The park’s tranquil hum was a perfect antidote to the city’s relentless thrum.

I meandered through the park, exchanging pleasantries with the occasional passerby, hoping to spark a conversation. Crossing Park Street, I ventured deeper, leaving the serenity of the Sandringham Memorial Garden behind. As I neared the Archibald Fountain, the scene transformed. This side of the park thrummed with a different energy. Tourists snapped photographs, sunbathers stretched out on the grass, while others used the park as a thoroughfare to nearby museums and galleries.

There she was, a splash of white against the dark brown backdrop of a bench, headphones wrapped around her head. Her blonde hair shimmered in the sunlight, a beacon that pierced the ordinary. Though approaching strangers, seemingly lost in their own worlds, was always a daunting task, I felt compelled to bridge the gap. A moment of pause lost in introspection and then I found myself tiptoeing across the manicured lawn. The soft crunch of my shoes on the grass announced my arrival, shattering the tranquility of her self-made haven. My explanation tumbled out, the details of my project spilling forth. And to my surprise, a spark of interest ignited in her eyes. She agreed, and with a smile, I led her across the street to a nearby park, forever etching the memory of her in a photograph.

Ah, Hanneke – a daughter of the Netherlands, she has now graced Australian shores for the past two months – her footsteps tracing the sun-kissed contours. During this time, she has danced with the southern winds, her spirit alight with curiosity. Adelaide, with its fiery embrace, welcomed her first—a city ablaze, where the sun paints the streets in hues of ochre. There, she shed her layers, basking in the relentless heat, her skin kissed by the arid breeze.

But fate beckoned her onward, and Melbourne’s labyrinthine alleys whispered secrets into her ears. The air, cooler yet vibrant, cradled her as she wandered through graffiti-clad laneways, sipping coffee from mismatched cups. Melbourne—the city of hidden gardens and kaleidoscopic street art—left its imprint upon her soul.

And now she finds herself in the heart of Sydney. The harbor city, where the sea meets the sky in an eternal embrace. Here, the weather dons a different cloak—a gentler one, perhaps. Hanneke arrived, her Dutch bones unaccustomed to this milder climate. She stood on Sydney’s shores, wrapped in layers that once shielded her from Adelaide’s scorching sun. But here, they clung to her like a memory, a comforting weight against the ocean breeze.

As our conversation unfolded in the cozy ambiance, she regaled me with tales of her adventures traversing the vast landscapes of Australia, her soul ignited by the rhythmic melodies of music, and her creative spirit expressed through vibrant strokes of paint. Amidst our exchange, a playful glint danced in her eyes as she shared a charming anecdote about her father’s penchant for horror films, adding a touch of amusement to our casual banter.

My dad loves the horror movies (she went on…)

I laughed at the remark and added: Never heard of it… Normally the woman… like the female… if it was your mom I wouldn’t be surprised but you said it’s your dad

So, when I was little I always watched it so…

Your dad made you watch horror movies?!…

It’s cute because I am not scared anymore…

Looking at her long curly hair I added with a roaring laughter: You can yourself be a horror movie…

My mom and dad are very blonde…

Then you get this… (referring to her hair she added)

Adding to her charm she went on:

I love to paint a lot and make music… Rock music…

I don’t really have a rock voice…

I cannot make that Grunting voice… Because I sing… you see… in soft tones…

An hour, perhaps, had melted away since our first encounter. Her voice – a gentle murmur – lacked the gruffness of the world, and perhaps wouldn’t win any opera contests, but its melody resonated perfectly within my ears. It possessed a curious quality, both soothing and stimulating, like a crackling fire on a cool evening. Sunlight, dappled through the leaves above, cast an ever-shifting tapestry of light and shadow on the ground. A gentle breeze, whispering through the branches, caused the leaves to tremble in an ethereal dance.

And then there was her hair—long, unruly curls that defied restraint. I found myself captivated, not just by her words, but by the interplay of light and shadow around those delicate threads. Every two months, she wielded scissors, trimming away memories and split ends. Each strand held secrets—the whispered confessions of wind and rain, the sun’s lingering kiss.

As the time for parting neared, she unveiled a poignant story, a personal thread woven into the grand tapestry of history. A ring – gold, adorned with three small but brilliant diamonds – rested on her finger. This wasn’t just any piece of jewelry; it was a tangible link to the past. Passed down from her grandfather to his cousin, a beacon of courage in a dark time. This cousin, a silent hero, had risked everything to aid those persecuted in the Second World War. The ring, now nestled on her hand – journeyed, a silent witness, from her grandfather’s hand to her father’s – connected her to a legacy of bravery and compassion.

Two generations had passed since the horrors of that war, yet its shadow lingered. The world, it seemed, remained divided over a sliver of land, a testament to the enduring power of conflict. Countless lives, innocent and vibrant, had been snuffed out in a maelstrom of violence. It was a senseless tragedy, a brutal cycle that seemed destined to repeat.

A faint hope flickered within me. Perhaps, in this fragile orbit, we can only hope for an end—an elusive peace that slips through our fingers like sand. Or perhaps, like helpless children, we watch and remember. The consequences—the weight of atrocities—rest upon our collective shoulders. We bear witness, hoping that someday, the sun will rise on a world unburdened by ancient wounds.

error: Content is protected !!