A meaningful encounter.
One evening, I organised a dinner party at my apartment.
Bite-site foods were served on the motorcycle bar table.
Tala bought her brother, Cristian, along.
Cristian carried a bowl of salad with him.
At first impression, he is soft-spoken and has an unusually calm demeanour.
He speaks at a pace and with a tone that respects the listener.
As the evening progresses, while others formed their own spaces in groups to socialise, we had our own space together at one point in time.
We used my world-map artwork to talk about my dreams of cycling around the world and to talk about where we were from. I pointed on the map where I would begin our journey and my initial plans. He pointed out where I was from. It was a very personal experience with Cristian.
The artwork was made 5 years ago in 2016 at Groningen, Netherlands. Want to see how it was made? Check it out here!
‘Notice how this nail represents the approximate geographical location where you were born, in Lebanon’
‘This particular nail supports the string, which runs over to the other side of the world map, to another nail, in Russia. This, in turns, becomes a support for the same string.
‘The string runs over to the other side of the world map, to yet another nail, in India. And it goes on and on and on and on across many locations in the world.’
‘The string represents the invisible connectivity, and the nails represent the localised energy fields’
‘To me, this reflects reality, on how we are all dependent on each other.’
We both laughed at the same time about this spontaneous realisation.
‘The food you served tonight was amazing!’ he says more than four times on separate occasions to me.
When it was time for the Lebanese siblings to return home..
Tala and Cristian were in the kitchen with me while the rest remained in the playroom. Their following action is to collect all the drink glasses that they bought over.
‘Thank you for the hospitality!’, Cristian claims.
‘About the salad, do you want to keep it in the fridge and have it tomorrow morning? You could return the bowl to us later.’, Cristian asks.
At this point, it came to my realisation that I have forgotten to serve the salad to my guests.
‘I don’t think I will keep it, as I have already provisioned enough food for tomorrow before I leave for Venice. Otherwise, it would be a waste of food!’ I replied.
I could sense a hint of disappointment through his body language. Without saying a word, he returned to the playroom to collect the remaining glasses that cannot be found in the kitchen.
I didn’t understand why he would react in that way.
Tala was in the kitchen with me.
‘Well, if I knew in advance that you will be bringing food over, I would have provisioned it in my dinner plans.’
‘He made that salad with a new recipe he learnt today. He is a good cook & he loves to cook. In fact, he was the one who insists on bringing food.’, Tala said.
Guilt struck me..
I didn’t know that he meant it in that way… I was too quick to assume things, and that explains that reaction.
As he returned from the playroom, having failed to find the remaining glasses, they were both ready to leave the apartment.
‘The food that you serve is amazing! He said one more time before sealing the door.
‘Are you sure you don’t want to try it tomorrow morning and give it back to us tomorrow?’ He repeats.
‘Yes! I will take it.’, I said without hesitation.
His body language communicated something delightful and different this time.
& I received it.
And for some reason.
It felt wonderful.
Like it finally came to my awareness that we both shared a deep understanding of something. That something cannot be described.
The respect that he has for me is genuine. And I feel the same for him.
When they left, I shared the story with the rest.
All were touched.
We decided to enjoy the salad together.
A moment that was previously inconceivable because of my ignorance.
And now, it is realised.
As we stood in a circle around the bar table to enjoy the salad,
We acknowledged that it was him who bought this moment of solidarity between us.