somewhere, a car honked. i was returning from a full day of work. the thought of the dreaded drive home through the madness that is KL's traffic caused me to groan inwardly. the roads were in a gridlock, and it goes without saying that there was no police in sight to ease the congestion. it would take another hour for me to get home. oh, did i mention that i had more work waiting to be unravelled when i got home?
frustrated, i heaved a massive sigh and leaned against the cool glass of my window.
then i saw him.
partially shrouded in the cloud of fumes spilling over from the road, he was walking in my direction, his shoulders weighed down by a heavy backpack. his gait unassuming and unhurried, his features relaxed and calm as he swung his arms freely. droplets of sweat ran down the side of his face. cloaked with a filmy layer of dust, he seemed to shimmer in the fierce rays of the sun.
the heat rising from the asphalt caused blurry ripples to my vision.
i kept my gaze focused on him. his footsteps brought him towards a row of small trees. scrawny and almost bald, they were hardly the epitome of mother nature's beauty. as he marched onward, their branches extended more and more, intruding into his path.
i observed him tip-toeing and angling his body at an awkward position so that he could continue staying on the pathway. it would have been almost comical, if not for the fact that he looked so exhausted and worn out.
suddenly, he came to a halt. what was he doing? i wondered. why had he stopped?
he stooped and stretched out a hand towards the dry ground. when he stood up, he was holding something, so tenderly. curiously, i craned my neck to see as well.
it was a flower, delicate and fragile. his head bowed, i noticed the furrow of his brow, as for a moment, he studied the tiny blossom cradled cautiously in his palms.
he looked up, and saw me watching him. he held my gaze unwaveringly for a brief while.
then he put the flower into his shirt pocket, and went on his way.
back home, as i took comfort in my refuge away from the frenetic pace of the day, my thoughts wandered back to the boy. just having him pass through my life, even only for those few minutes, i had gleaned a simple, but oh-so-often-forgotten lesson from him.
do not let the world pass you by, just because you are so caught up in your own selfish struggle. how often do we lose heart and lose sight of what we have, solely because of one dark cloud in our sky?
no matter how crazy things get, no matter what storms or difficulties we encounter, no matter how tired we are - there is, there always will be, beauty all around us.
and in that, we must never lose faith.
"i don't think of all the misery, but the beauty that still remains... look at all the beauty around you and be happy!"
Anne Frank, The Diary Of A Young Girl