I was sitting on a curb in an empty parking lot smoking cigarettes and wondering what life was. I had no idea what else to do. It just seemed right. I felt like I was in a movie, like there should have been melancholy music floating in the background. It’s ironic, though. I felt like I had to suck in dirty, life-threatening smoke to understand life’s meaning. I had to lose a few minutes to make sense of it all.
My stress was because of a girl as it usually seems to be. I just met her, and she seemed incredible. It was all going so well, and I thought that maybe I finally caught a break. That’s a fulfilling feeling. The feeling that you’ve found someone. I felt that. And I was happy.
But I went for a walk that night. And I saw her with another guy. And that feeling was pulled out of me like the smoke out of my lungs. Slowly. Deflating.
So I sat on a curb in an empty parking lot, smoked cigarettes, and wondered what life was. The air was thin and cool. Delicate, almost. The sky was empty except for a few stars. A storybook night by many accounts. A night perfect for holding hands until it was too dark to see. A night perfect for talking about bullshit but enjoying the sound of sincere voices. A night perfect for doing nothing important but doing it with someone important.
The only light I had was from street lights overhead and the faint orange glow in front of my mouth. I sat there, gravel under my feet, staring at nothing in particular. Smoke disappeared from the end of my fingers into the air.
But as I sat, something caught my eye. A dull brown object moved in the distance. I couldn’t make it out through the grey night, but it was there. Moving towards me.
Methodically, it crept closer into view, closer the the curb where I sat and wondered what I was doing, why I was doing it, and if it even mattered. Deliberately, it walked towards me, into my sight, where it was clearer than any thought I could have had or any idea that I could have created. Gently, meandering on the pavement as if it were tip-toeing, approaching me.
I was all alone in that parking lot. There were no cars. There were no people.
But as this thing approached, that feeling left me, too.
Completely alone on this crisp night, sitting in an empty parking lot, smoking cigarettes and wondering what life was, I saw a single deer.
I watched silently as the doe, head down, progressed on the pavement. We were ignorant of each other for a while. But it didn’t take long for the creature’s senses to prevail.
I lowered my hand to the ground, and she saw me. Her head snapped up, and she became a statue. She was waiting for me to move again, but I didn’t. I sat perfectly still.
I looked at her round, black eyes. They never blinked. I saw the coarse, brown fur on her body and the soft white on her chest. She stared right back at me. And we were there for slow minutes, staring. It was like she came there for the same reason. To think about her life. Like this barren lot held all the answers somewhere beneath the concrete. It was like she knew what I was feeling. Like we understood each other.
We sat there staring at each others eyes knowing it wasn’t coincidence.
Finally, she lowered her head, smelled the ground, and walked on. Gradually, smoothly slipping out of my view.
She became indistinct again as she moved away. But just before I lost sight, she turned around and looked at me one more time. She looked in my eyes for a few seconds as if saying “You’ll be ok.” Then she looked away and disappeared.
I couldn’t process what it all meant. But it was a sign, I think. A reminder, maybe. A reminder that we are never alone. A reminder that we can be understood. A reminder that there is something out there.
A reminder that meaning can be found in the strangest places.
Even sitting on a curb in an empty parking lot, smoking cigarettes, wondering what life is.