I walked right by someone the other day. At the grocery store...I was kind of in a hurry. I saw her and realized that she hadn’t seen me, and made a conscious decision to let the moment pass instead of taking a few minutes to say hello and catch up. I’ve done that before, with the optimistic attitude that we’d have another chance soon, maybe a quieter place, maybe a more intentional social situation, where we could really talk. That all seemed so logical and simple and inconsequential, several days ago at the Harris Teeter on 21st Ave.
And I wouldn’t have given it another thought, except that my phone just rang, and a stranger told me that he was holding her address book and calling everyone in it to let them know that she was found dead on Monday in a reservoir near Tullahoma. The horror of that, and the sadness of losing her, were only amplified by the knowledge that I CHOSE to pass up the chance to be in the presence of her sweet and gentle spirit, for, as it turned out, the last time.
So if I see you in the grocery store, I don’t care how busy I am, or how busy you look - I AM going to stop you and say hello, because the alternative no longer seems like such an okay idea.