#Lesson: Seize the Magic of a Moment
Have you ever met someone for just a moment, but they touched you so deeply that you can still recall their facial features and how they made you feel decades later? I had such an experience almost thirty years ago. My husband and I were on a Mediterranean cruise that took us sailing to Greece and Turkey. When we embarked on the cruise, we were newlyweds, and it was my first trip abroad.
Recently, I asked my husband if he recalled the little brown eyed boy that we met on the trip. To my surprise he also remembered the small child, but his recollection was a bit different than mine. His recall of the little boy was about a concern that he had about the boy slipping the wristwatch that I was wearing from my wrist. My husband had just gifted me a beautiful watch for my birthday just prior to our trip. The watch was a pleasant surprise as he ordered it from my college alma mater. The face of the watch was gold, and it carried the engraved emblem of my college, now a university.
Through the years, the watch was sometimes mistaken for that of a Rolex, as it resembled the gold and silver theme and it was a remarkable lookalike, but not near the value of such a watch.
As my husband and I continued our conversation about the little boy, we imagined what his life may look like now, as he would be around thirty-six years old, possibly with a family of his own. Knowing his skills in the” art of the con”, we joked that he probably charmed many women along the way, now he may be teaching his children what he learned as a child. We even imagined that he was now a local politician in the city where we met him, as his magnetism would justify such a role.
We encountered the” brown eyed boy” during one of our ports of call to a place called, Ephesus, an ancient Greek city that sits today in modern Turkey. It was one of the most important cities in the ancient Roman Empire.
From our port of call we took a tour bus to the ancient ruins that felt like it was a ride to the middle of nowhere. We had a tour guide as our leader, who my husband likened to Hollywood actress, Gina Lollibrigida, as she was extremely attractive wearing a body-hugging cotton dress. Standing in front of us with her shapely tanned legs, suggesting that we give the aperitif, ouzo a try later. Not to my surprise, my husband gave the Gina lookalike his complete attention, as did the other men on the tour. Little did I know that I was soon to meet someone that I was going to be smitten with, but in not in the same way.
The first stop on the tour was the remains of the Celsus Library, centerpiece of Ephesus, reconstructed after an earthquake in the 1960’s. We sat down for a rest directly across from the library on incredibly old, stone steps to listen to our tour guide share historical facts about the city. It was then that the little boy seemed to appear out of nowhere. Coming into view directly in front of me, there he stood with his tanned skin, big brown eyes and deep brown hair, a handsome boy of about seven years old. He took me by surprise by approaching me unabashedly, as if we had known each other forever. Smiling, he took my hand and sat down on the steps in front of me. Peering directly into my eyes as though he could see directly into my soul. Staring at my face intently and then easily taking his gaze to my watch on my wrist. He would eye the piece, and I could see that he was thoroughly fascinated with what he saw. Slowly moving his eyes from the watch to then carefully studying my face. Holding my hand as if it was the most natural thing to do in the world. Not only did he hold my hand, but he held my attention in the blazing hot sun of that August day. I recall watching a small bead of sweat slide slowly down the side of his sweet face. My husband, who was seated beside me was watching our interaction with great interest. I am certain that this little boy’s attention to my watch gave my husband his concern.
The other members of the tour observed my unusual encounter with the boy. I knew the group was feeling leery, as earlier in the week we brushed up against gypsies near the mosques that we had visited, causing us to scurry to get away from them. Our concern was the loss of our wallets and belongings to clever maneuvers of pick pocketing.
After a long silence between myself and the boy, he uttered softly to me, “a dollar”, possibly the only American word that he knew. The tour guide and the other tourists hearing his request warned me not to give in to his plea. I sat there wondering how he had acquired such a skill to communicate with me so quietly, with the use of his eyes and so little verbiage. His charming demeanor captured my heart, and it was difficult for me to deny the request for a dollar. He kept uttering the request for a dollar intermittently with such timing it was increasingly hard to resist.
Afterall, it was just a dollar. He was patiently holding my hand in the heat of the day as he continued to seduce me with his big brown eyes. I tried hard to pay attention to the tour guide, however, I could not muster the same kind of attention that my husband had given her. I wanted to learn more about the city, but I was instinctively drawn to the little boy.
We finally got up to move to another artifact and the little boy kept holding my hand and continued his plead for a dollar. I could no longer resist, as he melted my heart, I dropped his hand, hastily dug through my purse for whatever loose cash I had and handed it to him. My thought at the time was that it is just a dollar, I could certainly give him a dollar. Unknowingly, as I committed to the act of handing him the cash, out of from the ruins came a flurry of children now chanting in unison, “a dollar, a dollar”. The children were now in pursuit of the entire tour group as they chased us down the street of the holy city in pursuit of our money. Everyone in our tour group started to yell at me for causing such mayhem, thanking me angrily for causing such chaos around us. I just smiled to myself as I wondered how the rich American tourists could not afford “a dollar” for the children. The children who have learned the “art of the con”. They all worked hard to ignore the children as we continued our march down the street, hoping that they would disperse and leave us to our tour.
To this day, I can still see the face of that small boy and the bead of sweat on his face. A little boy that made quite an impression upon me in just a moment of time. Owning the skill of being able to size up his prey and to choose the most gullible one.
That evening as the darkness set in and boat was pulling out of the port where we were docked, my husband and I stood on the rear deck of the boat. It was then, appearing out of nowhere just like the brown eyed boy, was the magic of a shooting star. Yes, I did make a wish upon seeing the star. It was for our viewing only, as it lasted a split second, but the moment was memorable. It was a thank you from the universe in return for my kindness to the brown eyed boy. Meeting for just a moment, but a memory for lifetime.