My husband claims that people take one look at me and start spilling their life stories. To be honest, it’s kind of true. I think folks can tell I’m genuinely interested. Sometimes I think that’s why I became a writer. When it comes to people, I’m the world’s nosiest person.
I never get tired of people’s stories, especially stories that involve loving and caring about one another. This morning, I ran into an elderly woman at the post office. Leaning on her cane, she was struggling to drag in a cart filled with boxes. I stopped to help and commented that she had “quite a load there.”
“They’re for my friend,” she explained. “Her husband has Alzheimer’s, and it’s been hard. We both love to read, so I’m sending her these books. They help, you know?”
“I do know,” I told her, as tears sprang to my eyes. I imagined the effort and care she’d taken to box up all these books. Her love and thoughtfulness toward her friend, despite her own infirmities, touched me to my core.
Then there’s the later-in-life love story of the custodians at the health club where I swim. Until Tony arrived on the scene, our locker room was pretty much a pit. But thanks to Tony, our changing space is now gleaming and sweet-smelling.
One day, another custodian came in, an attractive woman who looked to be about Tony’s age. She mentioned that she had to work all weekend, but she and her boyfriend had just come back from a wonderful vacation in Florida, so she didn’t really mind. “You know Tony? That’s my boyfriend,” she said.
I told her what a fantastic job he was doing at the club, and she explained he was ex-military. “He takes pride in his work. The first time I went over to his apartment, I was so intimidated. It was perfect—spanking clean.”
She went on to tell me how he’d pursued her for months, but she was a widow with grown kids and didn’t think she wanted to get involved with anyone.
“But he kept asking. He kept saying, ‘How you gonna know whether you like me or not if you don’t go out with me?’”
He had a point. And once she went out with him, well, she decided being involved wasn’t such a bad thing. In fact, she proudly showed me the gorgeous engagement ring he’d given her.
I smiled all the way home from the pool the day she shared her story. There is something about love that transforms all of us.
On my “downest” days, love stories remain the most amazing pick-me-ups. They’ll always be my favorites.