I stood at the bus stop basking in the sunshine near the Frontier restaurant after work. A man – who looked as though he may suffer the misfortune of having neither consistent nor reputable housing or employment opportunities – approached me. He spoke a few sentences that I didn’t understand, seemingly in a state of being ‘under [some] influence’ rather than his complete control. My facial expression must have shown my befuddlement, because he simplified: “You look beautiful standing in the sunshine.”

Me: Thank you.
He held out his right hand: My name is James.
I shook his hand: I’m Sandra.
James: You know, actually, my wife’s name is Sandra!
Me: What a coincidence! My husband’s wife’s name is Sandra, too!
He took a couple of moments to digest that, but finally got it.

Then he proceeded to tell me more about his life: the names of his three kids; his 18-year-old daughter “is a brat”; he’s divorced and really misses his wife; my standing in the sun reminded him of her. He thanked me, and I him, and he walked away.

A little later, just as my bus was approaching, he asked me if he could tell me another story. I said, “This is my bus.”
James: I’m really sorry.
Me: Have a nice evening, James.

Sometimes, a person’s existential reality revolves around being able to tell his or her story – without it, he or she simply … isn’t.

I’m sorry, James; I could only listen to just a little of you. But I truly believe you are a real person uniquely created and loved intensely. May you often be blessed with others willing to hear more of you. You exist, and are loved.