I was living in North Carolina when I worked at the kiosk. After leaving my marriage, I moved into my first apartment with the custody of my three boys. When I say that starting over was tough and money was tight, I mean it. It was always a struggle to meet all of our basic needs. I worked hard and there were times when I had no idea how I was going to pull off paying all of the bills.
One particular morning, I woke up worrying about how I was going to pay a bill that was due the following day, in the amount of $50.00. Fifty dollars! That’s how tight it was.
I said a small, yet powerful, prayer I had said many times before, in various situations…
“God, make me a way when there is no way.”
Then I went off to work.
I was alone, working the 3:00 PM to 9:00 PM shift at my friend’s water massage kiosk.
It was after 8:00 PM when a man approached the kiosk and asked about purchasing a massage for his wife.
“Would your wife like to try the water massage?” I asked.
“She isn’t here,” he replied.
When it was slow, we often gave someone a free massage so that people would see the water massage machine in action. This would lead to a small crowd forming and ultimately other people wanting to try the massage machine too.
“Would you like to try a free massage?” I asked.
“Sure,” the man replied.
As we talked, I was overwhelmed by a sense of his kindness and compassion. I liked the way it felt to be around him. It was a strange feeling, one that I still can’t fully explain.
He was interesting to me. I couldn’t place his age or put a number on it at all. His hair was very short, even shaved, and light in color. His most outstanding feature was his eyes. They were very different from anything that I had ever seen before – they were almost clear.
He took off his shoes and I set the massage for fifteen minutes.
It was then, while he was getting his massage, that I realized that the mall was almost vacant during the time we had spent together so far.
What time was it anyway? Everything felt very surreal… yet I had no idea why.
The water machine stopped and I lifted the lid.
“How was it?” I asked.
“It was great!” He replied with a smile, as he put his shoes back on.
I couldn’t stop looking at his eyes.
“Would you like to be on our mailing list?” I asked. “Maybe you could bring your wife by one day. We have specials.”
‘Okay.” He said.
“What’s your email address?” I asked, handing him a pen.
He didn’t take the pen, but blurted out an email that ended with icloud.com.
I wrote it down and thanked him.
When he turned to leave, he looked me in the eye and said, “It was nice to meet you Erin,” as he slipped a tip into my hand.
“Nice to meet you, too,” I said, as I watched him walk away… wait, I didn’t even get his name.
I looked down at the paper where I had written his email address. Generic. No name there.
As if on cue, the traffic in the mall picked up.
I slowly uncurled my hand to expose what I thought was a dollar bill.
I glanced up and I saw him standing quite still watching me from the landing before the stairs, with the busy shoppers circling and passing by.
He had a presence, I thought as a tear slid down my cheek.
I didn’t want him to leave.
I wanted to thank him again.
I left the kiosk unattended and ran up to him.
I hugged him and whispered, “Thank you.” in his ear.
It was like he knew.
He wrapped his arms around me and hugged me back.
It didn’t feel weird to hug a stranger… especially not this one, it felt like home.
I turned and walked back to the kiosk, questioning my own sanity, what had just happened and why I ran to embrace a total stranger who stood there in the crowd like he was waiting for me, like he knew it was exactly what I needed.
Back at the kiosk, I looked toward the stairs.
He was gone.
My eyes searched the crowds in every direction, he was nowhere to be found.
When I told my friend about this experience, she said, “Check the email. I bet you it doesn’t exist.”
I did. She was right. It didn’t.
Take from this story what you want.
I know what I believe.
And I know I will never forget those eyes.
The grand finale.
Part 4: Tales From The Mall Kiosk, The Psychic
Spoiler alert: I’m about to explain it all.