Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Stranger's Life

Have you ever noticed that on occasion complete strangers feel the need to share their deepest and sometimes darkest secrets with you? Why is that?

One morning, when I was about 16, my mom decided to take me to McDonald's for breakfast before she dropped me off at school (I would have driven myself had I not totaled my car a few months earlier, almost killing myself).

While I was eating she got an urgent business call and went out to the car to talk. During this time I noticed a woman staring at me from the next booth over; with her were 2 little boys. After a few minutes of staring, this is what she said to me:

"You look just like my sister."

I just kind of sat there and smiled. I think I may have said thanks. I was 16, I really didn't know how to respond.

"I left my husband this morning."

She started to cry.

"I found out he was having an affair."

She cried more, but said nothing else.

I, still not knowing what to do/say, got out of my seat, sat next to her, and put my arms around her. It seems silly that I would do that to a stranger (I wasn't a big hugger in the first place), but in the moment it felt very appropriate.

She just cried for a few minutes as I held her. It was slightly awkward, but I would have done whatever I could in that moment to help.

When my mom came back in she gave me the strangest look, but after told me that "sometimes people just need to talk. It doesn't matter to who."

I never saw that woman again. I don't even know her name. It was just a random event.

I had a similar experience, minus the crying and with different personal issues, yesterday. She is my new neighbor. I like her, but experiences like that still confuse me.