Home: People Bless You through the Sharing of Their Stories

I thought I’d add some brief pictures of other folks I met on my journey. Names are changed.
Johnny from Iran who had been living in the USA for 40 years. A skinny guy, light as a feathery dandelion, friendly, happy, and very excited as we watched the NBA playoffs. He was in his 60’s, I’d guess, worked as an office manager. He loved American sports and got literally giddy when the Spurs scored. I could tell he didn’t want me to ask questions about his past. So I respected that.
Jose from Boise, Idaho who was working as an actor in Los Angeles. Young kid, probably in his early 20’s. Energetic, excited, hoping to make it big. He couldn’t believe I had ridden across country on the bike. He talked about the different performances he had been in. He was with his friend, also from Boise…
…Zane a striking red haired, red bearded guy, barrel chested, who was confident and friendly and told me about his time in the army in Afghanistan. Retired military and said he suffered from PTSD. But now he was doing what he had always wanted to do: Act. He invited me to a play that he was performing in. He was going through a divorce with an Irish woman. It had been difficult. He had changed so much for her he said, glancing down. Jose emphatically echoed the sentiment: “You wouldn’t believe the difference. He’s almost back to his old self.” Zane smiled “I’m feeling good.”
Tim was another man I met who worked in the film industry. He was an assistant director and had worked on a film in Conyers, Georgia. It happened to be the same film my actor friend Jesse Kindred had worked on. Tim was off work early because he was going to his daughter’s graduation. He had felt bad because he had been away from home months at a time so often over the years while she was growing up. He wasn’t going to miss this event. His daughter had been suffering with anorexia but was doing well now. They have to be vigilant about watching her at meal time though. I got to see pictures of his beautiful family. His wife was from Eastern Europe and he told me how they had met.
Lucy walks dogs and is house sitting. I could smell the dogs on her. She’s reading a book about living in the “now”. “Do you know about that?” I nod, check the book and see it’s one I’ve read. We talk a little about it and before long I’m hearing bits and pieces of her history, selected , it seems, to emphasize moments in her life when people she trusted, especially men, failed her. “They all want something.” She says, eyeing me suspiciously. “I don’t”, I reply, “Except to talk.” “How do I know that?” “You don’t,” I say. 
We keep talking for another 45 minutes until she sees some man she knows. She clasps her hands on my arm, says “I’ll be back” and runs off to talk with him.
Then there was Maria, a beautiful Latino bartender I met. I came in, adjusted my eyes to the dim light and the din, and sat down at the bar. I order a Modelo, a Mexican beer and watched a bit of a World Cup match. This guy comes in, sits beside me and she starts talking to him. He gives her some presents he’s gotten her. She’s appreciative but shy. They talk, he flirts, she kisses him goodbye. Later, when she’s standing in front of me, I say: he seems like a nice guy. She leaves and I start thinking maybe that was stupid for me to say, that maybe she thinks I’m too nosey. 10 minutes later she comes back and says: “Yes, he seems like a nice guy, I’m not so sure.” Then she tells me her story. Married seven years, has a daughter who is six, going through a divorce. She’s been out with him a few times and they have a good time but now and again he does some weird things: he can’t see her at certain times, breaks dates, makes excuses; she worries he may have another girl. She says she feels, what is it? I say “vulnerable”. “Yes that’s it.” We talk. She stares straight through me. “You’re a man.” She surprised me so much by blurting this out that I almost looked down to check. “You’ve been married.” She continues. “Why would he act this way?”
I don’t have any answers, obviously. “Do you feel safe?” I ask. She nods. “Yes”. “Are you happy?” Her shoulders dip and roll in that “well, kinda” way. I say: “You have to trust your gut.” She cocks her head back at an angle. I don’t think she understands. “Does he treat you well?” “Yes” she says, more confidently. Then she leaves to go serve someone and it’s time for me to go. Before I head out I do a quick internet search on my phone because my Spanish isn’t what it used to be, if it ever was. As I get up to leave I show her what I’ve found:
Sígue tu corazón and the translation: Trust your heart.
She smiles a tight smile, nods and we say goodbye.

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