Gratitude Diaries

Words by: Tiffany Forbes
Art by: Carla J. Romana

A friend once told me that the world is just one big ol’ floating rock. And in some ways, she’s right. It is just a big ol’ ball of floating nickel and granite spinning somewhere in the middle of our expansive galaxy. But on other days, it feels like so much more than that.

It’s home to seven-something billion people, who all experienced today differently. It’s home to crystal clear waters and gradient skies that calm even the most scattered of thoughts. It’s home to a million love stories and utterly awkward first kisses. Home to kittens called Panko and art that makes us feel things we cannot verbalise. Home to free therapy sessions and the type of camaraderie you’ll only ever find in the confines of a women’s bathroom in a sweaty nightclub. And these small fleeting moments? They’re the minerals — that at the time, feel miniscule — but come together to make life beautiful. 

So, as an ode to those simple joys, I started collecting my favourite moments from this year in none other than my trusty ‘Notes’ app under a heading labelled ‘BEAUTIFUL THINGS I’VE SEEN — Love Notes to Life’. 

They go a little something like this:

1. I take the train to uni. It’s my first time on the Cranbourne line since they’ve built the sky rail. We stop at Noble Park. I spot a brawny tradie playing with a kitten on his front porch. I am reminded of the duality that exists in every single one of us. I never see them again. 

2. I go to pick up groceries. Instead of being met with the bleak mundanity of a supermarket entrance, I see a man playing his violin by the door. His sign says “what a day to be alive”. He smiles at me. I smile back. I think about him for the rest of the night. 

3. I meet a dog on the sidewalk. Its owner tells me his name is Mango. Turns out Mango’s favourite fruit is, in fact, mango.

4. On a flight to Cairns, the girl next to me appears to be nervous about take-off. Her best friend holds her hand until we’re steady in the clouds. Whoever said platonic relationships aren’t just as beautiful as romantic ones, I just want to chat.

5. I sit at a Grill’d in Swan Street when I spy a couple on — what looks like — a first date. They’re sitting in the archway of a shopfront, trying to land a bottle flip. Nine failed attempts later, it lands perfectly upright. I hear them erupt in squeals. I laugh in ~single~.

6. My best friend and I have lunch with my dad. We leave. His house is just a speck in the distance. She turns to me and says, “I can tell he really loves you.” Those seven words mean more to me than she will ever know.

7. At my local shopping centre, I see a guide dog puppy being trained to use an escalator. His eyes go wide in shock when he realises the ground below him is now moving. I exchange a chuckle with the small crowd that has now formed at the base of the incline. In our otherwise separate lives, it brings me joy to know that we are now all connected, albeit for a second, by a singular shared memory.

8. It’s a balmy summer night in Melbourne. I’m waiting for my fish and chip shop order. The elderly man to my right asks me how my day was. We engage in small talk. He laughs — and I mean full-bellied laughs — at one of my poor attempts at a joke. It sounds just like my stepdad’s, who passed away four years ago. I go home and cry.

9. My witchy-spiritually-inclined-tarot-loving best friend takes me into a crystal shop. She picks a carnelian — a crystal that promotes courage, confidence and attracts good energy. After placing it on the counter, the cashier tells her she can have the gem for free. His only request? “Promise me you’ll pass on an act of kindness today.”

10. It’s Melbourne’s 211th day of lockdown. I walk out of Woolies and overhear the COVID-19 marshall and a random shopper complimenting each other’s Skechers. It appears not all humanity is lost. 

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