Last year I started to meet people in a local coffeehouse and I wanted to share some of their touching stories. These were strangers that I was friendly to, and all of these stories are true.
As he walked in the door with his girlfriend I could see it was difficult for him. As he moved slowly using his forearm crutches, his beautiful girlfriend helped him. He sat down with difficulty across the table from me into one of the comfortable leather chairs.
“Do you want some coffee or hot chocolate?”, his girlfriend asked him.
“Coffee please, with two sugars.”, he responded.
After she left I noticed that he was looking around so I smiled at him and said “I wish I could get my girlfriend trained like that. What is your secret?”
He laughed and said, “It’s nothing that a strong backhand doesn’t fix.” Of course, he was joking because he looked weak and incapable of that behavior. He continued “Na, I am just joking. She is a sweet woman and we help each other out.”
His girlfriend reappeared and I said “Your boyfriend said that you were a sweet woman and you guys help each other out. I’m jealous.”
She responded and said “Of course, he used to help me out why shouldn’t I help him out?” in a rhetorical manner. “My name is Susan nice to meet you.”
As I spoke with both of them I discovered that he had been in an accident and he showed me his left leg had a huge scar in the middle of the leg where he said it had been cut open after the car accident. He lifted up the leg of his pants to the knee showing me his prosthetic leg. More incredibly he described how he had been starved of oxygen for several minutes and the doctor said to his girlfriend that he wouldn’t survive or be retarded.
I would be remiss if I didn’t say here that the look of love on his girlfriend’s face was bordering on crying. I felt like crying myself because of the odds that he overcame and the strength he showed doing it. He seemed to be in pain talking so I asked his girlfriend if he was in pain, and she said yes.
“After that surgery he had his hip replaced and even though he is on the strongest pain medications, he still is suffering.”, Susan said.
I asked why he wasn’t given further medicine than to dull the pain and she said that it just isn’t allowed. I could see that they loved each other so much. I said “You are so proud of him. What makes you so happy to be with him?”
It was an endless stream of compliments she gave him. She explained how he had been in college until the accident, and that he will continue once he finishes healing. She explained how he had helped her through school, and how much she is looking forward to their future together.
It was mesmerizing. He didn’t complain and she said he never complained and that he found ways to help her. When you see and experience people who are struggling yet still find ways to give of themselves, it makes you feel very motivated to share yourself.
As they left I said goodbye to both of them and they seemed glad for the conversation we had. I couldn’t help but think that when so many people complain about how worthless relationships are, they have never had the experience that these two young people have. Love can blossom from painful, ugly things, even one where you lose part of who you are.