There is always one person willing and able to break the mold, one who has that rebellious soul, and sometimes I am lucky enough to meet them. Each time I do, I recognise that innate need to step forward, or even sideways, to walk out of step or in another direction.
They carry me. For them I will do everything, and they are much more rare than you think. They are not the ones who tell you they speak their own mind in a self-satisfied grin, but are instead the ones of small gestures at significant moments.
There was the Russian soldier I knew who had served in the Gobi desert and Afghanistan, who had a permanent karate tic, that is to say he was always chopping the air suddenly, in supermarkets and other not-natural karate chop environments.
We lived together, rather ludicrously, in the Russian embassy in Budapest – a long story if there ever was one, and our job was a little more ludicrous; to look after some high-spending Ukrainian teenage girls who thought we were the two most uncool people walking the civilised streets of bourbonville, but as they seemed impeccably connected all the way up to president Yeltsin of Russia, we remained uncoolly present, and very uncool to any cool young men who approached them, which made us even more uncool in the Ukrainian pink-outfitted teenage eyes, which further developed my Russian ex-soldier friend’s karate tic, and wiped supermarket shelves of produce alongside the Danube river that cuts Buda from Pest.
Those were uncommon days.
Three years later he called me from Korea, where he was studying ancient medicine similar to acupuncture, but with tiny burning pots, to congratulate me on the birth of my first daughter of three in Aberdeen, Scotland. How he got my number, or knew where I was, who knows.
there are people to meet
while we walk
that make it important to walk