We met twice in that moment.

Once as our eyes registered. Twice as our souls resonated in waves that we could not, at the time, comprehend.

It was only as we walked away, lonely souls forever lost in the crowds, that we realized what we had missed.

Do you sometimes wonder what would have happened if you had stopped to say hi?

33 thoughts on “Potential

  1. Whoah! Sobering. Though-provoking. One of the times it happened to me I’d just walked out of a building where I’d briefly spoken to a receptionist. Something told me I’d made a mistake walking away, so I turned around… Six months later we were engaged.


  2. This is one thing poetry does, can do, very well: make us feel like we’re reaching out for something, almost touching, it, then watching it vanish before our very eyes. This reminds me of Charles Baudelaire’s poem from 1857, “To a Passer-by” (the French is much, much better, but this isn’t bad):

    The street about me roared with a deafening sound.
    Tall, slender, in heavy mourning, majestic grief,
    A woman passed, with a glittering hand
    Raising, swinging the hem and flounces of her skirt;

    Agile and graceful, her leg was like a statue’s.
    Tense as in a delirium, I drank
    From her eyes, pale sky where tempests germinate,
    The sweetness that enthralls and the pleasure that kills.

    A lightning flash… then night! Fleeting beauty
    By whose glance I was suddenly reborn,
    Will I see you no more before eternity?

    Elsewhere, far, far from here! too late! never perhaps!
    For I know not where you fled, you know not where I go,
    O you whom I would have loved, O you who knew it!

    β€” William Aggeler, The Flowers of Evil (Fresno, CA: Academy Library Guild, 1954)


  3. I love this! I’m a sucker for stories that highlight the impact of passing relationships. You should watch the movie Once, which is one of my favorite examples of this. Beautifully done.


  4. Indeed. I wrote a haiku about this exact situation (which occurred in Sherwood Forest, August last year):

    Girl catches my eye.
    I catch hers. I smile. She smiles.
    And then we’re both gone


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