The Weirdest Relationship I Have Ever Had
I don’t know how to explain it. It just happened, and it is like nothing else.
I don’t know Stephen’s last name. I only have the vaguest idea where he lives.
About 6 or 7 years ago, I was doing the grocery shopping for my folks early one Sunday morning. I almost bumped into this guy wearing a Dodgers hat, and I said something about the Dodgers, and he said “Oh, I don’t like baseball. But the hat was free.”
And that was it. From the very first moment we started talking, he was like the oldest friend. We talked for about 20 minutes and then parted ways.
About six months later, I saw him again, and after a brief moment of surprise, took up right where we left off.
It has been that way ever since. Every six to nine months, I run into him somewhere and we catch up with each other’s lives. It’s almost never the same place. I have seen him at Farmer’s Market once, at restaurants, stores…today was in the Lowe’s Hardware parking lot.
We talked about my work, his wife’s cancer (serious), how we had both lost weight, anger management, parents dying…like the oldest of friends.
We have a connection, forged from…what? Merely the thinnest of threads – the willingness to speak to a stranger and the miracle of finding out another person who will stop and let words flow between you for a few minutes. It’s the rarest of relationships. I don’t want anything from him, and he doesn’t want anything from me, other than these few minutes that happen without a plan.
After about 15 minutes, we parted again. I still don’t know his last name. I don’t have his phone number. I don’t know when or where I will see him, but I’m pretty sure we will meet again.
“I’ll see you in another six months or so in a parking lot,” I called to him.
A guy in a pickup truck regarded us curiously. Yeah, buddy, I thought. It is curious, isn’t it?