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Interesting things happen when we see each other

Rain was falling as I passed a girl walking along the highway on my way to town a few weeks ago. She had a hoodie pulled over her head, but it offered little rain protection. I drove past feeling bad for the soaking she was getting.

The feeling caused me to find a place to turn around. Since I’m not comfortable picking up a stranger, I did the only thing I knew; I pulled up beside her and handed her an umbrella.

She gave me a surprised look and thanked me. As I pulled away, I noticed she didn’t open the umbrella, but kept walking.

A storm was about to roll into town as I hurried into the dollar store. Obviously, the rain was heavy earlier because someone dumped cat liter at the door to keep people from slipping on the soaking wet floor.

My race was on to gather what I needed and get to the car before the weather got worse. I finished and stood at the checkout watching as a lovely young person loaded cans of cat food and cleaning supplies into my canvas bag.

We had a nice discussion about the merits of using canvas bags instead of plastic ones they use. I noticed she had her eyeliner drawn on with the precision of a makeup artist. Her skill impressed me, but I didn’t mention it.

As she put the last item in my bag, we exchanged some comments about the weather. Both of us are ready to see the sunshine.

Now, the sky was black to the southeast and I heard the far off rumble of thunder. Could I get our lunch from the seafood place before a storm started in earnest? I hoped so as I whirled into a parking space near the front door of the restaurant.

Inside was another smiling woman who took my order. We turned to look out the side window as a clap of thunder grabbed our attention.

“I hope that storm goes south of here,” I said. “The one we got the other day made a mess that we are still cleaning up.”

The woman nodded.

“Me too,” she said. “That one had us trapped in our house. There were trees down and our power was out for four hours.”

I told her we were lucky not to lose our electricity and added that we have a generator that comes on when it goes out.

“It’s for my daughter,” I explained. “She panics when the power goes off and she will cry for hours if it’s out for hours.”

She nodded again giving me an understanding look.

“It’s bad for us too,” she said. “I’m scared for my daughter when the electricity goes off.”

She told me her child has a collapsed lung and they have to monitor her with machines to make sure she’s OK.

“We’ve been thinking about getting a generator so we don’t have to worry if we don’t have power.”

My food was ready, but we talked a little more as she put my order in a bag. She gave me another smile as she handed it to me.

“Hope you make it home before it starts storming,” she said. “You stay safe.”

“You too,” I replied.

On the highway,  I didn’t see the girl who was walking in the rain. I hoped she was somewhere dry.

At home, I stacked cat food cans in the cabinet and thought about the people I met on my trip into town. Chances are I’ll never see the girl in the rain again. The women who checked me out might not work that shift next time I pass that way.

I don’t know their names and they don’t know mine. Still, for a moment we shared a connection on a rainy Saturday. We SAW each other.

Who knows why we have certain encounters. Maybe they are nothing profound or life changing, but maybe they are, and that’s the mystery of life isn‘t it.

Nancy Blackmon is a former newspaper editor and a yoga teacher.