The lady who sells the homeless paper
A smile and a hug
How did she react?
She gave me a kiss on the cheek and said, "sorry, sorry..."
How did I feel?
Today something magical happened. I could tell the minute I woke up. It was that gut feeling. Still, though I was prepared, I gasped for breath the second I stepped out of my door. I couldn't believe what I was facing. Sun and 52 degrees: Spring was in town! In Berlin that means more than a smaller fuel bill and more daylight. For us spring flips the switch from dead to alive. Spring is the hero who grabs the remote control, presses stop and shakes the screen so we fall out of the zombie apocalypse we've been living in and land right in our favorite nature documentary. Or some romantic movie. Or both. Once i had found my breath again I capered and yodeled down the main street I live on. I could have sworn the cars were dancing along. I decided to ditch the subway and walk the three miles to my destination. There were smiles everywhere: The mom with her kid strolling home from school, the grandma friend date I passed, the late to rise-dude and the early drinker girls. They all played in my personal Harold And Maude. If you wanna sing out, sing out... Even the man who picked up his dog's poo seemed delighted to be doing so. I'm telling you: It's spring. Among the hundred smiles I saw there was one that I won't forget. It was the homeless paper lady's. I passed her, smiled at her, she smiled back. I walked on. Then suddenly I stopped. There was this urge in me: I wanted to go back and give her a hug. I don't know why. It was- her. Me. The moment. Spring. But I thought, "Nah, don't do that, you are not in California. Going back would be really inappropriate." I waited a second, then decided to go for it. Turned around, walked up to her, said, "Hi! Can I give you a hug?" She shrugged and looked at me with two question marks on her face. I could tell: She did not think I was a completely off but she had no idea what I had just asked her. I opened my arms. Now she understood, and opened hers, too. She laughed, we hugged, and held each other for a moment. She kissed my cheek. When I said goodbye to her a few moments later she cried, "Entschudlgung... Entschuldigung!" (Sorry... sorry!) Her face wide open and her voice chortling. I realized: Sorry was probably the only word she knew in German. And in this particular moment the meaning of sorry seemed to be "Have a great day." I took that, chuckled and wished her the same. Then I started dancing again and didn't stop until I finished my journey.
If they are received, compliments connect. They create a moment of togetherness. Often I have to bring myself to approach a stranger. Though I didn't compliment the paper lady I had a moment of resistance there, I brought myself to go up to her and I experienced a moment of togetherness. So I say: Hugs approved!
Along the way I took a few pictures of the rom com I saw everywhere: