The Stars Shine For You Tonight

A man in a hooded coat looking at the northern lights

It's raining here tonight, and big puffy rain clouds are hanging out in the sky. The stars aren't shining down on me tonight. I hope they are shining on you.

Early this afternoon, outside a grocery store, I bumped into a friend I hadn't seen in some months. We were never close friends, more like acquaintances, really. I knew him through other friends and would see him now and then. I walked over to his truck and said hello. We chitchatted a bit, but he seemed down.

I asked him if anything was wrong, and he said, No, nothing. He then turned around and leaned his back against his vehicle. He looked up at the cloudy sky and said something like, "I don't think it will ever clear up. The sun has deserted us."

I chuckled and told him I like the rain, the way it smells, and the way it makes everything green and fresh.

"Well, you can have it," he said. He wasn't smiling. He just kept staring forward.

I was feeling awkward, not knowing what to say next, and sometimes I can be clueless and not know when to stop. So I say something like, "the world may look all grey right now, but the sun is right up there above the clouds, just as bright and warm as ever. It'll be back before you know it."

He turned and looked at me with such anger that I stepped back a little. He clenched his fist, and I thought he was going to punch me right in the mouth, and I probably deserved it. Instead, he slammed his fist into the side of his truck and said, "are you always so goddamned happy?"

I was stunned and didn't know what to say. I heard the words, "No, I'm not always happy," come out of my mouth. I apologized and told him I hoped I didn't come off that way. I was just trying to cheer him up and didn't mean to make light of his mood.

He looked down at the ground for a moment, and he said he was sorry and was just having a bad day. Then he started to cry. We walked across the street to a little park and sat on a picnic table, and talked. Thursday was the anniversary of a tragic event that took the life of someone he loved, and it was eating him up inside.

I've been acquainted with this guy for several years, but I never took the time to get to know him. I had no idea this had happened to him. I feel pretty rotten about that. Now I keep replaying it in my mind; what I should have done and what I shouldn't have said. I knew something was very wrong but didn't handle it well. I invited him camping this weekend so we can talk some more. He accepted.

I can't stop being or feeling positive. It's just who I am, but sometimes folks don't want or need cheering up. They just want someone to listen or to be there. Of course, I already knew this, but I decided my way was better somewhere along the road. How presumptuous. Probably because I deal with negative events and experiences by looking for the positive, hoping it will overshadow the bad. And for me, that usually helps. It isn't what everyone wants or needs, though. I'll be more mindful of that from now on.

I'm going to try to catch some sleep. Have a wonderful night, or morning or afternoon.

© 2014 Peter Noah Thomas ~ All Rights Reserved

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