I occasionally do a spin circuit class on Wednesday mornings at the gym. At the end of the class, there is five-minutes dedicated to stretching, and some of the stretches require a partner. Two weeks ago I partnered up with a small, blonde woman who had the most beautiful blue eyes I’ve ever seen. That is not an exaggeration. They were disproportionally large compared to other peoples’ eyes, but perfectly proportionate to her own features. They were a see-through sort of blue, framed by dark lashes grouped in triangles as though she’d been crying – though of course she hadn’t been. A few things about her were fake; hair extensions, tan and I suspect her lips too. But those eyes were real and astonishingly beautiful. They can’t have been fake but surely they can’t have been real either. Surely not.
The next week we were partners again, and I had to tell her. I apologised I hadn’t told her last week but explained I’d been embarrassed.
You won’t believe her reaction; I certainly couldn’t. No one had ever told her before. Ever. In her thirty or so years, she hadn’t been given any sort of compliment to do with those eyes. In fact, she almost didn’t believe me – and I very almost didn’t believe her either. I can only imagine how many people must have thought it. How could they not?
I regret not having told her the week earlier. And I regret all the times I’ve thought wonderful things about wonderful people and haven’t told them.
Let’s make a pact, you and me, to give compliments when and where they’re deserved. I can’t see there being any harm in that, can you?
Let’s also take this as an opportunity to acknowledge the compliments we didn’t give, but should have:
To the girl at university with pink hair, pink clothes, pink everything – you’re the coolest person I know, and I don’t even know you. To the elderly man who crossed the road in the opposite direction to me yesterday, wearing the most immaculate three-piece suit and shiny purple brogues. To the conservative looking woman dressed in all black with unexpectedly crazy leopard print sneakers. To the girl who sat in front of me at a talk on Monday night, with a mane of amazingly curly hair – I wish I had the confidence to wear mine natural like you. To all those people – and so many others I’ve forgotten – I’m sorry I didn’t tell you how tremendous you are the second I thought it.
Go on…better late than never.