This is going to be somewhat oxymoronic coming on the heels of a post about how I don’t like religion, but I unabashedly want a world in which magic is entirely possible. Where there is something beyond the simple mechanics of two plus two equaling four. I like mystery and possibility and the things my layperson brain can do with my casual reading of quantum physics. Two particles connecting across space and time to impact each other. Well, obviously, that’s me and my best friend, right?
So I was eating dinner with Ratwell at Sweetwater Tavern not so long ago. It was a Sunday night, and I’d been in the pool earlier that day for a two mile swim. Two mile swims involve a lot of thinking. The short version (which preserves my facade of being semi-rational) is that I came to the conclusion that the situation that bothers me most is pretty much not my circus, not my monkeys. Yes, it took me two miles to sort that little bit of obvious out.
Ratwell picked me up and, as we do, we got to talking about a distinctly squishy blend of philosophy and spirituality. Control, or the lack thereof. Sitting still being the most effective way to spend your time at certain junctures, so on and so forth. We parked, as we do, somewhere far away from other cars. He’s had a brand new car since 2009 and it is only 2% less shiny and pristine as it was on the day he drove it home, in large part because he won’t park his baby anywhere near the hoi polloi. Anyway, a nice hostess sat us, we ordered, and he got up to wash his hands.
While he was gone, I pulled out my tablet to scribble down the full and logical conclusion that had just burst above my head like a lightbulb hit by a bb gun. From across the restaurant, the cutest little hostess walks over to me and asks if I’m okay. “You look so sad,” she says.
Now, before she speaks to me, I’m admittedly not happy. The conversation I’ve been having with Ratwell has just uncovered the unfortunate reality that I’ve been violating both logic and my deeply held philosophical standards. But I’m not tearful or anything. At least not before she talks to me. But this random expression of empathy and kindness suddenly has me tearing up. Not because I’m sad, but just because. So I tell her I’m okay, and she offers me a hug but I’m sure I really will start sniffling for real if I get up and hug her. It is going to be super confusing to Ratwell if he comes back from hand-washing to find me a sobbing wreck when all things considered, I really am okay.
Off cute little hostess goes, I tell Ratwell what’s just gone down. He assures me these things only happen to me, and we proceed to tear into Sweetwater’s bread.
Here comes cute little hostess again, this time with a slip of paper. She’s written me a note and she pushes it across the table to me. Perhaps she thinks Ratwell is an asshole boyfriend not to be trusted – a reading of the situation that couldn’t be further from the truth – but she places it on the table and smiles at me knowingly. Now I’m ready to cry all over again, because the note is so generously intended.
I now carry the note in my trusted notebook that goes everywhere with me, so I can recount it word for word.
If you want someone to vent to, I’m here for ya. – Sasha (phone number omitted)
No matter how dark it gets the sun will always rise.
“Not all who wander are lost.” JR Tolkien
The unexpected and random kindness of strangers is astounding sometimes. It felt like my grandfather giving me a nudge from the Universe, reminding me he’s still on my side. It felt like a great big angel taking over Sasha’s petite frame just to say hello. And I wandered off into the week with a profound sense of peace.
On our way out, I made Ratwell go get the car so I could stand in the lobby and wait for Sasha to come back from wherever it was she had vanished to. I wanted to hug her before I left. But five minutes of standing there and she didn’t come back. I didn’t ask any of the other staff because I kind of didn’t want to know.
Like I said, I want to live in a world where magic is a real thing and my grandfather can slip me a note written by kind, vanishing stranger. Meanwhile, thank you Sasha. You were a little bit of magic. And when I need reminded that things are going to be alright, I have a bit of white paper with a phone number and the thing I most needed to hear. Sunrise always follows, no matter how dark it is.