This happened to me a few weeks ago. And because it’s been on my mind, I decided to share my experience with you.
I was visiting my folks in the small town where they reside in the interior of B.C. It’s a lovely, sleepy kinda place where many people like to retire because of the mild winters and hot summers.
This day I had chosen to walk across from the lodge where they live to the Safeway store nearby. My mother has this fondness for marshmallows and in one of the end-of-the-isle tubs; they had large, striped pink and white ones. I grabbed a bag for her and got a few other things. Then I went to the checkout and put my stuff down and searched in my purse for my wallet.
A young native man stepped up behind me. He reminded me of a fellow I knew and cared about as a teenager, only this young man’s hair was quite long, decorated with a feather attached on one side. His black leather vest had some beautiful Indian artwork and matched the black of his sleeveless t-shirt and jeans. His tattoos were indicative of his culture and I thought him handsome. Maybe the pot-marks on his face spoke of earlier hard times but this day he looked clear-eyed, healthy and strong.
His smile caught my eye and I smiled back. “It’s nice and warm,” I said, wanting to be polite.
“Yes it is”, he answered as he put a briefcase down and got some money from his pocket. He probably thought I had noticed he had nothing to pay for (I hadn’t – I live in my own little world most times and that didn’t dawn on me until afterwards). “I’m just here to buy cigarettes for my dad.”
Without thinking, I grinned and responded. “Aha! You’re an enabler are you?”
He laughed and nodded. “Guess so. He can’t afford to buy his own anymore so I treat him when I’m here. I can afford it.”
Hearing the pride in the way he said the words, I accepted that he told the truth and maybe he sensed that I did. He looked at my groceries and teased. “You must like marshmallows?”
Automatically, I shook my head. “No, they’re for my mom. She has a sweet tooth.”
“Ahhh… so you’re an enabler too.”
I had to laugh and he chuckled with me, a moment when strangers meet. Then he looked rather pensive and after a few seconds, he reached into his briefcase and pulled out the picture you see at the top of the page. He said something I’ll never forget. It was as if he knew there was insurmountable grief awaiting me in the future. “You must live life “fearless”. He emphasized the last word and motioned toward the painting at where it was printed.
Touched, I looked at the wonderful artwork. “Not easy to do sometimes.”
“But it’s the only way to survive.” He motioned for me to take his present. “This is for you.”
I looked at him, in his eyes and saw a spirit that I recognized. “For me!” It wasn’t a question. I knew he meant for me to have it. The only way I knew to thank him was to show him. I hugged that young man, and when he hugged me back, he sighed. I felt his body trembling and without any hesitation, I kissed his cheek and felt him kiss mine.
A moment out of time I’ll never forget - two souls who found each other in this lifetime.