Have you ever had an encounter with a stranger which has left you wishing you could see that person just one more time? It may be that you want to apologise for something, thank them or simply say the things you wish you’d said. A brush with a complete stranger can be so profound in the way it affects us. It can play on our minds, slip into our thoughts randomly in day to day life or even change our outlook completely. Here are my 10 messages to 10 strangers.
- To the bouncer who kicked me out of a gig watching two of my favourite bands (Catfish and the Bottlemen and Little Comets) before I’d even seen them perform. You completely misunderstood the situation and your egotistical attitude was unjustified. Yes I was drunk but I wasn’t doing any harm. You wouldn’t even let me pop back in to use the toilet before waiting in the freezing cold for 30 minutes for a lift home. I conclude that you have small man syndrome.
- To the Italian boy with the blonde greasy hair who we met on a school trip to Italy. You made me feel like absolute shit when, in broken English, you tried to tell me that my boobs were tiny compared to my friends. Your words affected me for a long time – Why learn another language only to use it to crush a young tourist girl’s confidence? I hope if you ever have a son you will teach him more respect than you showed me. I also hope you learn to wash your hair.
- To the guy who approached me in the street and tried to chat me up by saying he liked the fact I’d dressed like a pirate – I have never worn a red and white striped top since this day. You were ridiculously creepy and were probably acting out what you’d seen in a pick-up artist documentary. It wasn’t a comfortable experience.
- To the Polish lady who waited patiently while struggling to hold the door of a shop open for me, even though you had two toddlers to manage and an armful of carrier bags. You have a beautiful soul and more courtesy than most men I’ve encountered.
- To the girl I met on holiday who shared a toilet cubicle with me just 5 minutes after we’d exchanged names. We spoke about things we’d like to change about ourselves and about not feeling good enough. You don’t need to change a thing – Please don’t feel you have to. Also thanks for not hating drunk me.
- To the person who ran over my beautiful cat down our street and, like a coward, just left him. I know you are local and I know that you knew he belonged to us. He managed to limp home to us but then died on the way to the vets. I could forgive if you’d have come forward, but never after how you left him. You broke him, and you broke my heart.
- To the French exchange students who repeatedly chanted ‘Lesbians’ at me and my friend as you watched us walk past. I’d just been run over by a bike and was walking to the hospital to get stitches. Despite the tyre mark across my top and the blood dripping from my chin and saturating my clothes, you thought the fact that my friend had her arm around me was the most important factor in this situation. We looked more like a crime scene and to this day I am still confused how you depicted some sort of sexual fantasy from this scenario – What on earth is wrong with you all?
- To the drunk man who paid me £5 for a huge paper mache fish in the middle of the street. I had acquired it for free from a performing arts festival just down the road from where our transaction took place. I’m sorry. You were vulnerable and so enchanted by the fish that I knew you’d be willing to pay to take it off my hands, and my friend and I needed money for chips.
- To the hockey team in the Students union who supplied me with jugs of ‘Snakebite.’ I found out the next day that it had in fact been pure Ribena, which you’d bought me instead of alcohol because you were concerned I was too worse for wear. Thank you for your kindness. The fact that I continued drinking it, convinced it was alcohol, proves that I was in need of your better judgement.
- To all the women working on beauty counters who have ‘matched’ me with foundation shades that were too light, too dark, too orange or just downright wrong. Hundreds of pounds wasted on makeup I can’t use and many occasions ruined by the wrong colour face. I trusted you and you failed me.
Do you have messages for strangers whose words or actions have made an impact on you? Or, sometimes, are all these things better left unsaid?