The Kindness of Strangers II
I used to cycle to see Bob in St James’s Hospital every day, passing St Patrick’s Cathedral and crossing over to Francis Street to take the smaller streets to the hospital, and return through Basin Street.
On one of these days, I was cycling home along what I think was Swift’s Alley or Meath Place, and there was a young chap, about nine- or ten-years of age, playing kerbs with his friend. He stopped play to let me cycle through, and he smiled when I nodded my thanks to him.
I saw him a lot during that time (fourteen months in all), and he’d always acknowledge me. Miserable as I was, heart-broken and in despair, this young man somehow lightened my heart with his sweet expression. We’d greet each-other with a smile and a wave, and if I didn’t see him I’d feel a little disappointed.
He didn’t know how his courtesy and friendliness affected me – he couldn’t have guessed that seeing him somehow made the day a little brighter and less hopeless.
One day, as I was at the lights waiting to cross Patrick’s Street, I saw a small hand waving at me from the back seat of a slowly passing car, and it was him. I waved back, and laughed to myself, that this little lad – only a child but a source of comfort in the midst of my misery – looked out for me.
I don’t know where he lived or anything about him, but for his sweetness I will always be grateful. He had no idea who I was or what I was doing, but the connection between he and I will live in my heart forever. He was the one bright light in what was otherwise a dark journey.