For several years in my twenties, I worked as a waitress. Every night after work I walked to the bus station downtown, then rode the rest of the way home. It was usually late at night and I loved it. At night, the city was my friend. It kept me company. It listened to my thoughts as I walked.
It still does.
Often on those walks I would smile without realizing it. It was the only time during the day I would do that.
Most of those nights, I followed the main street all the way downtown, but one day, wanting to take my time, I decided to go a different route. So, I went through the park instead. There, I stopped on a footbridge and looked at the water for a while. I thought about the man I saw at the park several years before and how jealous I was that he was alone and how much I wanted to be like him.
Maybe, I thought, I finally am.
When I got to the bus station, a thin man wearing old work clothes opened the door for me.
As he did so, he gave me a very big, very genuine smile. I smiled back. He said “Hello,” and I said “Hello, how are you doing?”
“Fine,” he said. He kept smiling and looking at me. Then he went through the door and left.
I didn’t know the man and I never saw him again, but somehow, I knew what he was thinking anyway. He was thinking, Isn’t life good and aren’t you glad?
When he stopped to say hello to me, I had been thinking the same thing. Maybe he could tell.
As I waited for the bus that night, I lay on a bench alongside the bus shelter outside. Exhausted from work, I stared at the side of the building.
That wall is beautiful, I thought.
And that was the way I was all that time I was alone: thoughtful, and a little strange, and everything was meaningful to me. And that is the person I want to know forever and never let go.
After Rachel and Matthew had their first child, they had a couple of fights. Well, okay, more than a couple—they fought for over three years. They fought about schedules. They fought about bad habits. They even fought about the lawn mower. And besides actually having their child, it was the best thing that could've happened. Get Fights You’ll Have After Having a Baby: A Self-Help Story on Amazon now.