Becoming Human To Each Other

I saw him every morning. He always looked like he'd just drank a glass of vinegar or the day - early as it was - had already displeased him.

We had the same walking path - he going east, I going west. And we had, as strangers sometimes do, mutually agreed not to make eye contact. He seemed so sour. Better, I told myself, to keep at a distance.

So weeks, month, maybe even a year of mornings went by and we never acknowledged each other.

Then this one morning came. Maybe it was the brightness of the sun, maybe I was too caught up in thought, maybe I'd forgotten our mutual agreement, but my eyes accidentally locked into his.

Not knowing what else to do, I gave him part of a smile.

And this man, whose face seemed forever squeezed up in displeasure, opened up into a wide, radiant smile. The kind that leaves you feeling covered in sunlight.

I was startled - and fantastically so; I didn't know he had that kind of radiance in him.

I gave him a fuller smile, a little wave. He waved back, then continued walking east.

And every single morning after, this man I thought was all small and sour proved me wrong with his big, sweet smile.

And every single morning, I would walk away thinking, It's connection - however small - that makes us human to each other.

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ConnectionCaitie Whelan