Tonight I wept silently at a stranger's memorial while the voice of an angel drew more tears from my eyes.
I came to the service knowing that he was loved by a friend, and that was why I was sad. But I left feeling that he was my brother too. It didn't matter that I had never met him. Being in a room full of people, who were all there to celebrate the life of one extraordinary person, made me realize that we are all extraordinary and we are all connected. The pain of one person will be our pain too, because they are our family. I listened as the memories of others filled in the outline. I cried because he was my brother and I never knew him. But most of all, I cried for the family below clinging tight. Hold strong.
Later in the night, as I stood outside a familiar place, two strange men approached me. A rush of anxiety passed over me, given where I just was.
"Do you know where Locust is at?"
"Oh...yeah you're going in the wrong direction. It's back that way, maybe ten blocks."
"Say Miss, you couldn't spare another smoke? And maybe a dollar?"
I was on edge as I reached into my pocket. But the fervent "God bless you"s and "Thank you"s floating through mismatched teeth, smoothed my edge. And their smiling, crinkled eyes matched my own.
I walked back into the restaurant only two parliaments and $3 lighter, but it felt like I had left a part of a much greater weight outside.