Moments from my lengthy life return to my mind from time to time. They are uninteresting moments in every way, other than the fact that they return to my mind occasionally, with no rational reason. I do not seek to take any action about them; this is simply an observation of my mind’s meanderings. Truthfully, I feel confident that you share the sensation through moments from your own life.

On one occasion in 1986, I was trudging comfortably up Mountain Street, heading home from my office. It was a pleasant summer evening and I was not in a hurry, I was enjoying the time lost in idle thoughts. Suddenly, around the corner of an elegant downtown hotel came a woman towing a travel bag on wheels.

She was wearing a blue airline uniform – I didn’t notice what airline. I assume she was a captain or stewardess or something. Although I admit that I am turned on by women in uniform, this was something different. Our eyes locked for a brief moment and we looked into each other. That’s what it felt like. It felt like more than into each others’ eyes, but rather into each others’ spirit.

That three-second moment of nothingness returns to my mind’s eye occasionally, and I don’t know why. She was a black woman about thirty years old. Slim and attractive, her face was not typical of many black people’s features. She appeared to have the features of an Indian person, but the colour of an African person.

We didn’t speak. We didn’t come within four meters of each other on the wide sidewalk in front of the luxurious hotel, yet that instant replays periodically. I wonder if it ever affected her like that. I wonder if that moment comes into her mind and if she remembers my white face and my black beard, and wonders as I do if we should have spoken.