People I Can’t Forget

There are some people I can’t get out of my head. Not long-lost friends, not long dead family members, not erstwhile enemies – although yes, of course they’re there too.

The people I can’t forget the most are the ones who shouldn’t remain. The people I didn’t even really meet – sometimes not fully seeing them at all. These are the ones that linger the most.

Morning Boy

Senaai and I were taking Cooper, the family dog, for a walk in a bush reserve near his house. He lived for walks. He had a sixth (or whatever the extra sense is for dogs) for when it was time for a walk. He would know before we even got ready and then bark in excitement the whole time we put our shoes on and locked up the house and got his lead ready. Barking made sure it happened.

This one time was a magical memorable moment. Golden hour. We were on a pathway near some water and trees where you could sometimes see koalas sleeping up above. A little boy riding a bike with his mother in tow were walking towards us. The little boy raised his head and helmet and cried out, with the utmost confidence and in a delightful singsong voice: “Mor-ning!”

This would have been cute at the best of times. What made it so brilliant was that it was late in the afternoon. The tyke obviously knew people said “Mor-ning!” to each other as a greeting. He just didn’t really know when or why.

What compounded this incident was his mum sighing slightly and smiling knowingly to us. Couldn’t write it better if you tried. We could tell so much about him and her in this small shared piece of time. Barely three seconds. Something Senaai and I still talk about, a greeting we still use ourselves, at all times of the day.

And it wasn’t just this little boy that made it memorable. It was ours. Cooper. He was with us and then and isn’t with us anymore. And if he was a human little boy, he too would sing “Mor-ning!” and not know why it was so funny.

Make-up Bus Friends

For a time Senaai and I regularly took the bus into the city. Not every time, but sometimes we’d come across these two friends who were clearly working for a make-up store, Sephora or wherever. Very glamourous and very hip. Senaai is these things but I am not.

We never really interacted but we’d overhear their conversations, talking about beauty YouTube drama or work things. To be honest I can’t really remember what they said. I just remember them, standing out against the crowds on the buses.

We were on roughly the same schedule for a while but then our obligations changed, and we didn’t take the bus anymore. Hardly ever take the bus these days. Did they notice we were longer commuting together? Did they ever notice us at all? Thinking about such things serves no purpose but here I am anyway.


Senaai tells this one better than me but I’ll have a crack anyway. We went to a free screening of Kramer vs. Kramer at the Brisbane Square Library. It’s only struck me right now how odd that name is, indicating that the Library is situated at ‘Brisbane Square’ but actually suggesting the library is square shaped, or perhaps meant for uncool folks only. And such a meaning couldn’t be ascribed to folks who attend a free screening of Kramer vs. Kramer at a library on a Friday night, could it?

Anyway, this night in 2013 was when we met Ian. He was an older gent sitting near us in the theatre. We might have said hello and chatted briefly before the movie started. But maybe not. I do know that when they handed out a box with packets of chips, Senaai helped him pick out the ones he wanted, and then also helped him open the packet. He was lovely. It must have been after the movie finished that we spoke about the film.

Before the film was screened, someone (from the library?) spoke a little about how it won a bunch of Oscars and was well regarded. Ian must have picked up that Dustin Hoffman and Meryl Streep won the acting awards because he commented at least a few times to Senaai and I that he thought the little kid should have got the awards!

And you know what, he’s not wrong. Every time I see a good child performer, I think of Ian and wonder if he’d think they were good enough for the awards. And I remember leaving Ian that night, seeing him walk off into the night and knowing that we’d probably never see him again.

The Maccas Guy 

Once at a McDonald’s drive through, the ostentatious worker handed us our drinks and theatrically declared “Here’s the good one! And here’s the bubbly one!”

Coke was the good one and Sprite was the bubbly one. I’m not sure why he described them as such. But I wish I had his buoyancy and enthusiasm for life.  

These little interactions are what is missed when in isolation, that much is clear. However, I’d argue that, more than anything, they are missed when living without being present. You have to be in the moment to notice and appreciate these moments, to collect these stories, to find people to not forget.

I am sure these people don’t remember me. But I am probably in a story like this for someone out there. And who have I forgotten? There would be so many more stories that I didn’t register at the time, or I’ve simply forgotten.

Life is just so long and interesting and unknowable. It’ll never be worked out, is what I’ve come to realise. That’s what my blog and writing and podcasts are about.

It’s not lost on me that all these unforgettable exchanges happened with Senaai by my side. Having someone on the journey with you makes it so much easier to unearth the small moments of grace.

I’ll carry on remembering these people I can’t forget and hopefully meeting new ones who won’t leave me too.

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