Strangers

Dear stranger in the popcorn aisle, do you know how much I love you? I love everything about you. I love the hair clip on the very top of your head. I love the toddler jumping at your side. I love your shopping lists and coupons. I love your walker, and the cute scooting noises it makes. I love your overalls and company jacket. I love that you came in your workout clothes. I love that you let me see you once without makeup. I love your blue bag, your yellow trench coat, and bright pink heels. I love the way you carry your lunch number – sometimes like a sword, sometimes like a rose. I love the way you melt in front of the toddler in the child’s seat – you can be seriously picking out peppers or crossing something off your list, but the next moment act like a total goofball in front of your child’s adorable face. I love your face – the laugh lines and the crow’s feet. I don’t like that you’ve smoked so much, but I still think you’re raspy voice is cute and could tell a good joke. I love looking at your fingers and thinking of what all you’ve done with them. I love your amazing white hair and the blonde highlights that fit you so well. And since we’re on the subject, you did a great job on that outside around-the-back braid this morning.

When we separated for several weeks in February, I was sure I wouldn’t miss you. Yet, when I caught a glimpse of your face in a Wal-Mart on a Saturday two weeks later, I remembered how good you looked, and I felt a pang in my heart. I really did miss you a lot, and that’s why I’m writing you this letter. So that we both don’t forget.

I hope that you keep coming to see me, that you keep liking the steaks and sausage I sell you. I hope you don’t change much over the years. You have taught me so much about life and people and my own character, and for that, your fingerprints are all over my soul. Without you, my life would be boring, and cheerless. Thank you for teaching me all kinds of things, thanks for your business, thanks for the surprising conversations, thanks for being you – interesting, creative, inspiring, energizing, beautiful, strange, you.

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