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, months, 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.