Poignant moments are abundant in our lives, and writing gives us a way to preserve them. Often we rely on photographs to preserve such moments, but most of the time we do not have a camera on hand when such moments occur. After all, they almost by definition occur by surprise, and it is often the element of surprise that adds to the poignancy.
Sometimes these have to do with our relations with loved ones. For example, I bought the rocking chair shown above years ago, hoping it would come in handy for a grandchild some day. I waited over 30 years for a scene such as the one above, featuring my grandson!
But, I’ve noticed that poignant moments also frequently occur with strangers, even in the check-out line at the grocery or department store.
Just yesterday, for example, I was purchasing ten washcloths at Macy’s, and the clerk commented that she liked the kind of washcloths I was buying. “They dry so quickly,” she said. “Yes,” I agreed. That’s why I like them, too!
She began scanning them, one-by-one, even though they were identical. And, after scanning each one, she would carefully fold it and add it to a neat stack on the counter. I fought the impulse to hurry her along. No need to waste her time, and mine, in folding items that would be tossed into the washing machine as soon as I got home. But, I realized she was probably trained to do this, so I stood patiently and forced a smile.
As she completed the sale, she said, “I really like your hair. I’ve been thinking of changing to that style.” I should explain: My hair is a short, straight pageboy, whereas hers was long and shaped into a cascade of waves and curls.
“I like this style for the same reason I like these washcloths,” I said. “It dries quickly!”
She broke into a sudden smile, apparently as surprised as I was by the connection of washcloths to hairstyles, and we laughed together. I walked away feeling I had brought some merriment into both our lives, partially because I was able to overcome my impatience. Maybe not all that poignant, but you get the point.
This month, I invite you to reflect on evocative moments in your everyday life. Or, perhaps there is a memory from your past, maybe just a brief scene, that is waiting to be preserved in words.
We hope you’ll submit what you come up with.
Let us hear from you!