As I was heading towards the exit of a shopping mall, I saw the automatic sliding doors closing on a little girl. She was probably no older than three. I caught that moment when she wanted to head back inside, but it was too late: the door was closed, and it cannot be opened from her side.
I can’t forget the look of panic and momentary despair on her face. There was someone she was looking for — her father, I found. She was just running on ahead, and when she wanted to run back, the doors closed on her, unable to reach that father.
Of course, her father joined her moments after. His steps lead the doors to open again, and the little girl happily ran, hugging her father as if they have been separated for years. In those few seconds, I was lead to wonder what had gone through her mind in those few moments. Panic can make the mind see in slow motion, after all —
“Oh no, the door’s closed!”
“I can see him, but I can’t reach him!”
As I went through the doors myself, I thought of how many times I have crossed over the line of “too late” — mostly of words unsaid. Not those “I should’ve known!” moments, but those when you knew you had to say something, but decided to hold your tongue. To be frank, I never regret not saying unkind or critical things, but I do regret failing in saying a kind word, or, “I love you.”
It always feels like walking through a one-way automatic sliding door, and all you can do is look through the glass of the past. Unlike that little girl, there are those I failed to reach with love and they are not following behind me.
But I have learned. I am fortunate to have those I can still catch as they open the doors for me; and I know now that I can slow down and look back, and make sure they’re right where I need them to be, so I can tell them, “I love you.”
A response to an old Daily Post prompt: “Break the Silence”
… and an apt one to that, because goodness, I haven’t blogged in four months!