While checking in for my flight today, and a man with gentle eyes and white crisp cuffs on a black shirt interrupts the woman working behind the counter to ask her a question.
She is short and rude—clearly unhappy with more than this man and myself.
Knowing this, I excuse her of her reaction in my heart.
I turn around to extend some kindness to the man behind me, smiling and saying, “I like your shirt it’s very stylish.”
He says, “Thank you, I’m not wearing it to be stylish. Today is not a good day.”
He is soft and I sense sadness in his words.
“My son had a heart attack today. We are here for a wedding. He’s 51, he’s a body builder and in shape—he’s not supposed to die first. I’m supposed to die first.”
His words freeze the air around us as the rest of the people carry on fighting with baggage tags and crying, hungry children.
He crumbles into tears, apologizing as he does.
“It’s not supposed to happen this way” he says.
I ask him if a hug would be appropriate and he says yes.
We held up the entire hot, sweaty, tired lineup—he heaved and sobbed in my arms and my heart broke quietly in my chest for him.
Suddenly traveling since four a.m., a late ferry, a missed bus, taxi cab, chasing buses on an empty stomach doesn’t feel so important.
Remember what a gift life is today, what a gift your family is.
Remember to tell the people you love them—life has no guarantee.
Fuck being angry too long, fuck not saying sorry, fuck being stubborn, fuck having pride, fuck not forgiving—we are not here forever.
Author: Janne Robinson
Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: via the author