A strange man sat across from me, balancing his coffee and fresh baked bread that perched on his rickety four leg table. I sat engrossed in feelings of low self worth, doubt, and nearly suicidal thoughts. At 17, those thoughts are more rampant than in most sane adult’s brains, so it was something of a daily norm for me. Knowing and accepting the stance of teenage melodrama, I still felt like shit — like no one in the world could understand what I was going through, and that surely no one ever could.
On what should have been a school day, taking notes in physics, rather than the kinetics of my heart, I sat there, stirring cup after cup of hot tea with a little red straw and nibbling on free samples of fresh baked bread, wishing for a way out. Occasionally as tears rolled out, and more napkins were needed, I would notice the man. He was looking through a picture album. every so often he would bring the album up to the counter and show to the kid working there photos of worth. The kid seemed to know him and nod in admired approval, or maybe the kid was just really nice, I am from the south afterall. For hours (or maybe only half hours, again everything feels much more dramatic when you’re a teenager) he sat there, looking at pictures, looking up every so often to smile at me.
Finally after stifling my last cry, the man walked over to me. He said “Can I show you something?” I obliged, thinking at this point just about anything could make me feel better than the void I was feeling right then. In hindsight, a smart adult would probably have suggested that I kindly tell him to fuck off. So I followed him out to his car, seemed safe enough since it was parked directly in front of the cafe.
The car was jam packed with framed artwork, knick knacks, and shiny things hanging from the rear view mirror. It was as if someone shoved a small university gallery into a 1989 Nissan Sentra (I’m just guessing the car, my memory isn’t that good).
The man said, “look at all these beautiful things. You are much too beautiful to cry as you do. I want to give you something beautiful like you.” He rummaged through a satchel of shiny objects, and pulled out a cubic zirconia pendant that sparkled in the late morning sun. It was ghetto, but it was also beautiful. To this day, it might be one of the nicest things a complete stranger has done for me. It not only improved my mood, but improved my overall impression of humanity.
Today I found that pendant while sifting through my jewelry box. It reminded me that even when you think the world is dark and gray, there will always be someone who sees the beauty inside you. No matter how hard life can be, remember that you and your life are beautiful like a diamonds in the sky. Thank you Rihanna.
Wear that pendant with confidence and humility, you never know when you might need to pass it along. Shine bright today beautiful people.