The kaleidoscope zooms in on a bright summer day with a counterclockwise turn of the dial, capturing in its light a multiplicity of stories and personalities. The kaleidoscope of people and colors twists and turns, spinning and bending. Happy people twirl into sad people, young people into old people, children into parents, individuals into couples into families. Businessmen, school teachers, and drug addicts. Nurses, recovering alcoholics, and mothers. Disabled veterans, sisters, and teenage sweethearts. Musicians, writers, and accountants.
The kaleidoscope lens rotates. A young couple with sweaty hands clasped and fingers interlaced morphs into a seasoned couple, walking side by side in a comfortable silence, flecked by bickering couples arguing about big things, small things, and won’t-remember-tomorrow things.
Parents are drying tears and pacifying tantrums. A mother is desperately searching for her young son, who moments earlier was at her hip and now has drifted off into the sea of moving limbs. Over-sugared and under-rested children smile and laugh and cry and scream.
The kaleidoscope turns. Tourists from around the globe mingle with natives playing hooky and suburbanites braving the concrete jungle for the afternoon.
A man who just lost his job passes a woman who just started a new job.
An attractive couple munches on funnel cakes, feigning attached companionship, while the man’s wife toils away in the office building beyond.
A man, hair awash in salt and pepper, whispers “yes” to the love of his life, knowing that the legality of their union is questionable at best.
A young father pushes a stroller with one hand as he softly pats his wife’s behind with the other, causing her to giggle and playfully nudge him away.
A woman, widowed much too young, brushes hands with an older gentleman as she purchases a latte and, for just a moment, she forgets the unceasing dull ache that resides in her heart.
These are the colorful people and complicated stories and hidden agendas that walk among us and around us and within us. The kaleidoscope lens turns, constantly. One person’s happiness becomes another person’s sorrow, success blends into failure, anger shifts into love.
Is the kaleidoscope moved by blind luck? Or is it controlled by fate? Is it a matter of individual free will or is the kaleidoscope turned by a higher power? Or perhaps it could be a kaleidoscopic combination of all these things?
Who knows? I certainly don’t. But whatever it is, it sure makes for a divinely entertaining, bittersweetly heart-breaking, and decadently satisfying ride.