I just want to highlight two things that happened last Sunday involving humans and their capacity to connect.

I was at iMusic where I practice drumming. I’ve been there dozens of times, but this time in the lobby there was a black boy waiting at one of the tables. I was intrigued because black boys who speak Chinese are rare, but I didn’t stare at him because that would’ve been hypocritical. Just glance, acknowledge there’s a black child speaking Chinese, move on.

In the practice space, i was drumming when I noticed the door close. Someone had opened it and was now closing it. Strange, but I went back to drumming.

Later, I guess I was riding the ride cymbal too hard, because the tip of my drum stick snapped off. I got up to get another stick and noticed a black girl – the boy’s sister – standing outside the door peering in. She had opened the door and was closing it again.

“Hi,” I said, before she could close the door fully.

She opened it and said: “Hi. Sorry. I just wanted to watch you.”

“That’s okay! What’s your name?”

“Chelsea.”

“Do you play the drums?”

“Yeah.”

“Do you want to show me?”

“Okay.”

I handed her the sticks and she went to sit behind the drums.

“What kind of music do you play?”

“Hmm… Pop.”

She banged out a few bars of a slow but even, simple beat. I clapped when she finished.

“Are you in a band?” I asked.

“No,” she said, getting out from behind the drums.

“Do you have friends who play instruments?”

“Yes.”

“Good! You should start a band.”

“Okay,” she said with a shy smile.

She said goodbye while closing the thick door and I went back to the drums.

Chelsea opened the door momentarily and said: “Oh, Happy Mother’s Day.”

“You too!”

***

Later, the sky vomited rain.

I had an umbrella but umbrellas only prevent upper body soaking in heavy rain like this. My face and shirt were sprinkled with water. My skirt was drenched. As I rounded a sidewalk corner: BOOM! An immediate sonic crash followed a flash of lightning seemingly right overhead. My heart racing and my vessels flooded with epinephrine, I scurried into the above ground shelter of the MRT subway station. A dozen other humans (some Taiwanese, some foreigners) were taking refuge. As I entered, I glanced at some of them and we exchanged giddy smiles.

And then later, after traveling underground on the MRT, arriving at my destination station, and again walking outside through the pouring rain, I passed a couple as they traversed the sidewalk with NO UMBRELLA, scurrying between the overhangs of buildings.

As I passed them, they both looked up and smiled wide, as if we were watching a comedy in the theatre, saying: “isn’t this situation we find ourselves in today hilarious? I don’t know your life, you don’t know mine, we’ll never see each other again, but right now we’re together in this robust rain. Ha!”

***

It’s so freeing. There was no before and there was no after. Only the now of these people’s smiles and Chelsea’s drum beat.

 

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