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A Brief Encounter on Rue de la Paix

So much of our depiction of a person is in the sum of their parts, their eyes, their nose, their mouth, the crinkle of their mouth exposing a smile or a grimace of disgust, their mannerisms. And yet her eyes eclipsed all those things. They spoke for themselves, they spoke words that one could not verbalise, they spoke words that one could not be put on paper, they spoke words that only the soul could comprehend. They say the eyes are the windows to the soul.

On that cold, cold day of winter of 1914, walking down rue de la Paix towards me, I didn’t see the woman bundled up in her fur coat with a round hat adorned with feathers. I saw her; her being, her quintessential being. She spoke to me through her gaze, told me stories of her past, her present, her aspirations for the future. And in that fleeting moment, as our shoulders brushed up against each other, our eyes peering into one and others it had felt like I had known for a lifetime. And in that fleeting moment, we could have been lovers, siblings, long time friends. As she made her way across the street, the magic of the gaze wore off and we were yet again two estranged individuals crossing paths, I saw her for what she was or at least for what she appeared to be. The Parisian woman with a Turkish veil on Rue de la Paix.

Kaladaya Rubie is a university student, in her third year, studying philosophy and sociology. When she’s not pondering life and deliberating existential questions, she enjoys wandering the streets of Paris, people watching, and making e-collages of the things that bring her joy.