Daily Prompt 4/12/23

Daily writing prompt
Describe a random encounter with a stranger that stuck out positively to you.

Once upon a time, during what feels like a lifetime ago, I broke my hand when I punched a very thick glass mirror. I didn’t break the mirror, but I did break my hand. After weeks in a cast, I finally got free and got to start occupational therapy.

I’ve done physical therapy a couple times in my life, and that’s definitely torture. Occupational therapy felt like fine motor torture. It all hurt in ways that I’m fairly sure would’ve hurt before I broke my hand. I went to this torture three times a week for awhile and then it dropped down to twice a week. Eventually it was only once a week. But it took a ton of time and aggravating another issue I had in my wrist.

Sometimes, once I was done playing in hot rice and getting a massage, I sat at this table and played all the silly games with another person who was there for similar activities. This one day, there was an elderly gentleman with kind eyes. He looked like he wanted to talk, which I wasn’t in the mood for. But I was in uniform, so I have to think about the image I present. I can’t just brush him off and keep to myself.

He just started right in asking me about my job and I answered him with my standard, “Not a pilot, just a nerd on a computer in the back.” He smiled knowingly and told me he had been intelligence in Europe many many years ago. During the Cold War. He told me a ton of funny stories, and every single one ended with, “And I’m sure that’s in my KGB file.” He said that he was certain that his KGB file was larger than what the FBI or CIA had on him. he also smirked and said, “You know we spy on our own citizens and have for a long time, right?”

I laughed at that one pretty loudly because yeah, he’s not wrong. The tech working with us said we made her day, even though she didn’t understand most of what we were talking about. He left first, shaking my hand on his way out and thanking me for making his miserable hour of torture enjoyable. I said the same and turned back to her. She said, “He’s never been as happy as he was just now, talking to you. You made his lifetime, I think.”

That made me feel good inside. I’ve thought about him randomly through the years. Based on how long it’s been and how old he was at the time, he’s likely not with us anymore. I always wonder if he remembered our conversation like I did. Our chat really made me feel good and I almost forgot I was at another torture session.

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