That afternoon, after minutes of being pushed and shoved to the middle of the shop where the counter was, I was suddenly stopped by a huge black man in a business suit. He was built like a linebacker and was easily 6’8”. How I hadn’t noticed him in this crush of people was beyond me. I’m 5’2," and to be approached by anyone in this city of strangers was so unexpected, I could only stare.
Not put off by my mute staring, The Linebacker in a Business Suit bent his head down toward me and smiled. ”I just want to tell you it’ll be okay.”
He kept smiling and nodded as if to acknowledge that he understood my startled and rude response to him. “I know things are hard right now,” he told me, “but it’s going to be okay.”
Before I could reply, I got jostled by the hordes of students packed around me. When I looked up—maybe two seconds later--he was gone. The man who had been standing at least a foot above the head of even the next-tallest person in this tiny space was nowhere to be seen. That familiar tingly feeling that always marks these kinds of moments for me was already setting in, but I maneuvered myself enough to turn around and look for him anyway. When the place was that crowded, even a paper-thin man would have had to push his way through the mobs of students and book bags-thrown-over-shoulders for a full minute before finally reaching one of the two doors at either end of the shop. The man was just gone.
When I got back to my apartment and shared the story with my roommate, she shivered and crowed, “You have the weirdest experiences!” And I do, I suppose, but I had walked away from The Lunch-Hour Skirmish Sandwich Shop that afternoon believing all the more something I’ve really needed to hold on to ever since: The Universe is aware of Little Old Me and is sending me a sign here. I believe in holding on to hope, I don’t think we’re ever alone or unloved, no matter how lonely or unlovable we may feel, and I trust that the Universe is always somehow aware of us as we plod our way through it. It's going to be okay.