I’ll often catch myself immersed in the passing lights on streets and roads, marveling at how I will never meet the millions of strangers I’ll pass by in my lifetime, and how their lives must be as dynamic, troubled, and beautiful as ours. I feel sorrow because I won’t ever have a chance to dive deeper into their places in life — their friends and lovers, favorite restaurants and cafes, and hideaway spots for rendezvous.
That’s what pushes me to cherish the encounters I do get to make as much as possible. Some of these encounters will fizzle away: the quick handshake at a club mixer or polite small talk in the elevator. Others will be much more substantial, the friends and family who bring us laughter, annoyance, and everything in between.
But there is one that is truly, unspeakably special, and that was the orchid.
It was an unlikely encounter, made possible only because we were both at a point in life where we sought greater connection. A brief brunch turned into many dollars lost at the claw machine into an entire day exploring the best of our city, art and cocktails and all. That night, love was already blossoming, slowly but confidently.
I was her first, but little did she know she was my first as well. Who else could I have eloped to the paradise of Maui with after only three months, while almost dying in the ocean, conquering mighty mountains, and ending with a slow cruise where the sunset stretched into the horizon? Who else would have accompanied me to an exhausting road-trip to the greatest sights that California has to offer, and despite the long, twirling roads, made driving a breeze because she and I were too busy discussing the merits of an apple or a robot?
During the time, I watched the orchid blossom, the marvelous petals fully extending to reflect the sunlight. I loved her honesty, wit, and most importantly, openness to new experiences and vulnerability. Perhaps she worried because it was her first time blossoming, but already, she had everything needed to be the wonderful flower of my life. I took in the orchid’s sweet fragrance and soft tenderness like an aphrodisiac; even though the flower didn’t originate from the world I was used to, our difference was spectacular, an unlikely duo introduced by fate and bound by love.
Life is fleeting and circumstances are constantly changing. Nothing can be permanent and often, it takes courage to recognize and act on the changes. The circumstances between you and I have shifted by life’s unpredictable forces, and now the orchid must ride the breeze to fly somewhere new. Goodbyes, especially to a beautiful, one-and-only flower, will never be easy, but we cannot be angry at the wind that pushes us apart. Instead, we can reflect on how the time we spent together, hand-in-hand, allowed us to be open, brave, tearful, and ultimately, stronger together. Isn’t that what every man and his flower wish for, regardless of the time or the place? I certainly believe so.
赠人玫瑰，手有余香。You handed me an orchid, and even if we walk down paths that don’t meet, your hands will always carry the love, compassion, and tenderness you added to my life. I hope you take them wherever you go. And I am forever grateful that out of the millions of strangers, you and I decided to lock our eyes and lips… before we bid each other farewell.
written for 兰