On a sunny winter morning around five years ago, I listened to a young writer read. He was not conventionally handsome but had a benign aura about him that few people do, a serene presence which radiated goodness. He spoke poignantly about his book, conveying intense emotions that sounded purer for the directness and lack of sentiment. I read his book soon afterwards with a great deal of pleasure, a meditation on the self in times of trial.
A few weeks ago, I had to look him up for a project and was shocked – His face had weathered a few decades into a collage of wrinkles and dark shadows and messy grey hair. His voice likewise was slower, as though worn with time and life. He could have passed for the father of the bonny lad whom I had seen five years ago. Only the kind expression remained. It sat sweetly on that once-seraphic countenance, which now invoked a crumbling sepulchral cherub in my mind.
My project done, I might never see him anymore, perhaps not even in Cyberspace. But I will read his book once more, those lines of achingly beautiful prose and reflect on his words about the ideas of home, the changing seasons, the passing of time, and the meaning of life, and perhaps I will weep when I read, in a moment of shared humanity that I will sense across the printed page.