The Stranger

Preload 14I followed her off the train. I was supposed to get off two stops before her, but I stayed because I saw her. She looked just like Anika. I knew it wasn’t my old friend. How could it be her anyway? Anika had gone into continuum.
Then, why did I follow a total stranger off the train? Why did I trail behind her? I watched her enter a coffee shop. She ordered a latte and sat by the window. Her phone rang, she reached in her jacket, answered her phone with a smile. That smile. My friend’s smile. The smile that exposed her lower gap.And because of that smile, I decided to go into the coffee shop.
I introduced myself to her. She listened to me,a total stranger talk about you,Anika. I told her how we met. How you were a gift who kept on giving….even now….over a decade after your passing.
She told me she was Jamaican. A doctorate student of Psychology. I guess that was why she was more receptive to my intrusion. Most likely thinking: maybe this woman is suffering from a late onset psychosis brought on by grief. She told me, she had recently lost her mother, the culprit: cancer. I listened to her, a total stranger upheaval her precious thoughts on the emotional roller-coaster she couldn’t get off. The effect her loss was having on her relationships: the tensions between herself and her boyfriend, the loneliness she felt because her family was so far away. She started to cry…I didn’t feel awkward handing her my tissues and buying her more coffee. That was the least I could do after helping her come undone with the imposition of my person.
Finally, I stood to leave. What possessed me to follow a stranger….I thought to myself. She wanted to exchange phone numbers. I politely declined. “You will be fine”. I assured her.
As I caught my train to continue my commute, I felt so much better.
Grief makes us do crazy things. Grief helps us appreciate our relationships more. It helps us love more deeply. It builds a ladder to forgiveness. It throws a light on what you would otherwise have kept hidden. Words spoken by your departed loved one carries more weight. It gives us wings to fly.
And hopefully helps you adjust your lenses to focus on what really matters.