Last night, after a workout at the gym and my normal 45 minute commute, I stopped at two different grocery stores to pick up my bi-weekly fare. Grocery shopping is one of my favorite pastimes, but by 7PM I was exhausted, very hungry, and ready to just get home. I loaded my bags into the trunk and drove toward my apartment as quickly as I could, planning out a quick dinner in my head.
At the red light before I turned onto my street, I looked to my left as I crept forward to make a right turn on red. A little girl, probably about 4 years old, held her father’s hand as they stepped off the curb and into the crosswalk. She wore a lavender fleece jacket and matching hat, with a tiny fleece pouf at the crown. She was looking straight into my eyes, and I smiled at her.
For her entire trip across the four lanes, she never stopped staring at me. And as she stepped into the spotlight of my headlights, she put on a shy smile, lifted her tiny hand next to her cheek, and curled her fingers into a hesitant wave. It was utterly adorable. And the best part was, when I waved back, she practically burst with excitement. Her smile widened and she waved more enthusiastically. The innocence and joy she radiated made me long to have the heart of a child again.
The spell that had been cast between us was broken when she tripped up the curb and her father gently lifted her over the edge and onto the sidewalk. Still, those few seconds made up the most intimate moment I’ve had with a stranger in a long time. And the beautiful part? Not a single word was necessary to make that connection.