I met this stranger on the walkway.
She was walking fast, bouncy and springy in her lively gait. She held a coffee cup in one slim hand and her phone and a novel were in the other hand when she bumped into me.
Or rather I kinda bumped into her actually… unconsciously!
It was more like we bumped into one another… We were typing on our phones before the good collision. I really won’t blame fate for bringing us together that way.
Dressed in a hand dyed Batik jacket, with a fitted top, jeans trousers and a pair of black tennis shoes, I thought she was just the type that would probably beat me up.
I was expecting an outburst, some swearing and maybe insults too. But instead, a genuine “Ooh!” formed on her lips and when she swiftly bent down to pick my files, repeatedly saying, “I am very sorry! I am so sorry” -I knew my expectations were so misguided.
I swiftly joined her in the squat and replied, “I am sorry miss” as we picked up my folders.
She looked up and smiled; a beautiful and reassuring smile; emphasised and made more cute by her gap teeth. She waved her hand in a reassuring gesture and like a magic wand it blew my fears away.
“no need to be…” she said as her eyelids fluttered to hide her shock.
Her book was stained with mud.
“Its alright”, She said, patting my shoulder as I helped her up. Then we saw it- the black coffee stain on my shirt. I sensed the warm black coffee had low fat; just the way I like to have my coffee too. But not good enough to be poured on my chest!
“Oh! I am so so sooorry!” she apologised, frantically brushing the stain with her handkerchief.
“Its okay!” I said, “I’ll take care of it”.
She bent her head to a side, raised a quizzing eyebrow like she was asking, “are you sure?”
Her confident gaze peered through poor shy me and I lowered my eyes pretending to focus on the stain. “yeah, I’ll be fine… You can go on”
Before she hurried off, she came over to me, gave me a hug and whispered something about being sorry and Thank You. She is so nice! You would probably think we’ve been buddies for years!
There I stood, on the walkway, disorganised files in hand, tie thrown back and a big black coffee stain on my chest, smiling sheepishly.
She definitely is one homely stranger I would love to meet again. Dark complexioned but pure in heart!
She was long gone before I remembered I didn’t even ask her- her name!
Days and many more days after that day, I watch her affect many lives with her radiant smile. Bouncy and lively as always, she walks across the walkway and she gives out novels and other books to some motherless kids. She also takes warm coffee to an old woman on the street.
The pure kindness and selflessness she radiates is natural, just like her dreadlocks. She carried her 5ft 4in body with so much grace.
Day after day, I familiarised myself with this kind, selfless stranger without speaking a word. I kept a distance and only shyly watch her from afar.
I feel like she’s my friend already, though I haven’t asked her.
I know I am shy, but I guess that’s why I desire a bold friendly stranger.
I plan to summon courage someday, someday soon, bump into her and say, “hello stranger?”
or better still,… “Hi, Dear Familiar Stranger!”
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