The Perfect Stranger: Taiwan
The Urban Nomad Freakout festival was one of the latest festivals that I’d been before I close the chapter of my voyage. The festival is a strange journey of the range of musical genres from folk to punk rock, but then again my favorite story is how I met the perfect stranger.
Then I saw you amongst the crowd.
Like me, you’re alone too. I didn’t count on it until I saw you looking around like I am, as if people are going to notice that we are alone, but we don’t mind it anyway. I noticed your crimson dyed streaks dancing with the wind in the crowd. Your hair tied up in a loose ponytail lying at the lower part of your head. You wore a dark oversized pullover, giving you a bit of a sloppy yet awkward touch. But then again it felt like you prefer to be comfortable. The loose pants that hid your sneakers with streaks of maroon. Very subtle color, perhaps you love the rose after all yet you put on a strong front to prevent yourself from getting hurt. To put distances between you and everyone else. You’re the perfect ordinary wallflower.
You nodded quietly to the music as it blared on, and I was just beside you noticing things that people might not notice. And perhaps because we are so alike, yet worlds apart, further than the metric that depicts us. I never thought I would ever feel this again. Like how the cat got my tongue after all these while. It is insanely bizarre that I seem to have lost the ability to speak, that I can’t muster the courage to say hi, to smile, to nod or to wave. I was just paralyzed by this peculiar amusement and fear that rooted me at where I am as if my interference will destroy the beauty of this. I worked in the hostel, I have my extroverted persona equipped but yet I couldn’t speak.
I saw you again.
This time we are on the other side of the festival ground, there you are, swaying by the side this time as if getting more comfortable with the crowd and yourself. The live band sang, and lights shot in all directions. The alternative metallica gives it a bizarre touch yet there are still comforts in the beats.
And I saw you again.
As we both stood at the back of the main stage. This time you have your arms behind you as you nod affirmatively to the music, a different style of alternative folk, where melodies felt like it came from long ago, and they arrived from the time machine. The longing vocals gave it a strange haunting touch.
We might have a series of eye contacts, and I diverted my eyes away in embarrassment as if you could read my mind through my eyes. As if you can see me writing stories with my eyes, writing our forbidden lore, penned down in a diary that is for no eyes to see. It felt almost just as wrong to look at you again as if we are star-crossed.
And I saw you again.
This time we’re pretty close, and I’m just right beside you. My lips parted slightly, as if I wanted to stay something, but no sound came out. We stood together, both in our own world, enjoying the music, yet right here, right now we shared the same space. I could feel our shoulders brushed slightly as we sway together with the crowd as if orchestrated by the lead singer himself.
Part of me didn’t want to ruin the moment, for this moment is precious and it reminded me that I could feel too. I could feel such spectrum of emotions again, that I am still me, that I am still alive, and I am still able to write stories, for myself and people, again. Yet, part of me is dying to know you. To know the part of you that you don’t usually show it to people. I would like to read each and every page of your chapters, as to how I’ll like you to read mine.
The guitarist was smashing his guitar, and the crowd was cheering. I was cracking into laughter when I saw you smile from the side of my eyes. How I could see your perfect teeth finally emerge. You know, you are just like those girls who didn’t know how great they look when they smile. And they would never smile in photos to save their life. I wish you could at least tell me if I’m wrong. You felt like those who never like to take photos, but didn’t know how beautiful your smile could be, not for romantic reasons, but just so you could smile more. Maybe part of me just wanted to find somebody to pin my hopes on. To romanticize a story, just like the one I’m writing right now. It is funny how you might look so invisible amongst flamboyant hipsters. But you shine like the brightest star in front of me.
And I saw you again, this time you had your face down onto your phone. Are you ringing your girls? or perhaps a date or your boyfriend? Or perhaps someone when you want to hide from your monsters and insecurities? Or maybe it is your parent. Are you happy? I have a millions questions from that lighted screen but I could never think of anything. My head was penning down my emotions and the moment that I have to encase it somewhere on my virtual shelf. You walked off after a while and I just let it be as it is, because we kept crossing path again and again.
Maybe I didn’t cherish our time, maybe I thought I’ll see you again, and maybe I thought this is the last time we'll see each other. Perhaps it is for the better, sometimes things are better left untouched, and to admire the beauty of the moment as it is. It is perhaps best to write about a moment but not someone. And sometimes it is the fleeting beauty that would stay with us, longer than a person would. And this is how I met the perfect stranger of Taiwan.
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