There is an old man who works in a Turkish kebab shop on the street that I walk up and down most days. Sometimes, he looks busy and other times, he appears bored. He’s looking out the window, at all the people passing, and our eyes meet for half a second. It’s only when I’m already gone when I wonder if I remembered to smile.
On the same street, there are lots of barbershops and nail salons, second-hand shops, a couple of record stores, cafés and restaurants. There is a place to get your keys cut and another one to make bets. I sometimes see the same people, like the man at the Turkish kebab shop, and the Australian guy who works at the café, and the blonde lady who works at the Tailors whom I need to visit because I bought a jacket that’s too long for me.
When I’m bored of thinking about my own thoughts, I start to wonder what’s going on in the minds of these other people. Of course, it’s impossible to know for certain, but I know that there are likely worries and problems. They are probably sad about some things and happy about others. They are probably wishing parts of their life were different or that they themselves were different. They are probably thinking that life isn’t fair because it isn’t. The only thing fair about life is that it isn’t fair to any of us.
I know it’s not nice to think that other people are sad or dealing with different griefs or traumas or anxieties, but when I remember this fact, it becomes easier to bear my own. Nobody gets off lightly. We all have to carry things we don’t want to carry; we all do things we regret. We all make stupid mistakes, or hurt the people who love us, or wish we better in some way. But I feel less alone in my sadness when I remember that at the end of the day, we’re all looking at the same moon.