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I was leaving the grocery store. A stranger with a cart was on my right, about three feet from me. On the left of me there was another stranger and her three children with a cart crowding in my personal space bubble. There wasn’t much flex room for me in that confined space.

As we neared the exit, I noticed that, with my flanking strangers and carts, I was heading straight for the center security scanner. I had about four feet of room to step side-to-side or stop all together. Directly ahead of me, completely oblivious to anything around him was a young man paying full attention to his smartphone.

This young man had the appearance that, in my younger years, would have had me turning tail and running away as fast as I could. Beneath his backward ball cap, his hair was closely cropped and the huge diamonds in his ears glinted as he walked. His excessively baggy jeans, t-shirt, and oversize hoodie did a good job of covering his caramel-colored skin, but what I could see of it was inked with tribal bands, tear drops, and various other significant markings. He had bling all over the place and, even though his clothing was far too big for him, I could tell that he had a compressed and fairly impressive physique beneath all the layers.

I wasn’t certain what I was going to do. The strangers on the side of me started weaving and bobbing so that the six of us were in this awkward, jerky dance of indecision. He happened to look up as he slid his phone into his pants pocket. In that moment, he realized he had about five feet before he and I collided.

So there, in my comical dance with the strangers, as we side-stepped inches at a time, bumping into one another and shuffling away, he began the dance too. He and I were in perfect synchronicity. I stepped slightly forward and to the right. So did he. I corrected and the next tiny step forward was guided to the left. He stepped to the left too. Back and forth we went until, we were standing a foot apart from each other, face to face.

And then he laughed.

As the smile broke across his face, it transformed his entire visage into this brilliant being of Light. I had no choice but to grin and giggle with him. He bowed slightly, sweeping his arm elegantly before him, indicating that he was allowing me the right of way and then we went about our separate ways.

I would have missed that moment in the past. I would have gone to the opposite side of the entrance to avoid him all together because he would have scared me based on the split-second judgments I would have been making about him.

That morning, however, I chose to stay right where I was and had the opportunity to experience a smile as bright as the sun and genuine joy in a dance with a man I didn’t know.

photo credit: yell saccani via photopin cc


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2 Responses to That Moment When He Smiles

  1. Pete says:

    Yes, here was an ego hiding a beautiful soul …

    • Angie K. Millgate says:

      Or a very scared boy that didn’t have a chance to grow up in a safe environment so the only way he has learned to survive was by being aggressive and “attacking” first with markings, attire, and energy that all states “Stay away from me.”

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