Someone in the apartment next to mine was playing Danny Boy on the guitar last night. That’s what I fell asleep listening to.
Then today, when I was working away at my desk, I heard someone practicing their scales on the piano.
And then, just a few minutes ago, I heard two people laughing hysterically. Big belly laughter. The kind of laughter you’d think might make a person feel lonely but actually makes one feel cheerful instead, simply because it’s such a pleasant sound. Laughing about what, I wondered. It must have been a funny joke.
That really got me thinking: sometimes, you’re just doing your own thing, living your own life, wholly unconscious to the fact that you’ve just become a part of a total stranger’s world. These unknown faces behind these anonymous walls…they have no idea that I’m thinking about them or that they’ve become part of my story, categorized in my mind as memories of Edinburgh apartment, neatly tucked away for some future time when I’m feeling wistful and nostalgic.
Like maybe I’ll be riding in an elevator one day and Danny Boy will start playing and I’ll think to myself, this reminds me of that rainy night in Edinburgh when it was past midnight and I fell asleep listening to the neighbour practicing guitar.
And like a child gathering seashells at the beach, I’ll keep collecting these memories, these snippets of conversation, these rare glimpses into the lives of people I’ll never meet. I’ll store them in my pockets, my bags, my notebooks.
Because I think there’s almost something sacred about them, something fragile and golden, like a secret. Something deeply personal, too. Something that’s wholeheartedly mine. Something that I never have to share with anyone, not even the people who are a part of them.
Memories that belong to me, collected from behind apartment walls, and gazing out of windows, and living in my unique and wonderful little way.