Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
Five years ago, I met a beautiful woman from Bosnia on a flight. We spotted each other before we boarded, and since the plane wasn’t totally full, she came over to sit near me. We talked the whole time. We laughed. We talked about books and love.
She recommended the book I’ll quote below. She was kind and warm. She immediately invited me to come visit her family–to ditch my present vacation and join her. I loved that, though I had to decline. We kept in touch from time to time and she encouraged me to keep writing.
It’s remarkable how someone I met for only a few hours made me brave for adventure, hopeful about the future, and helped me to discover that love is a bigger part of the world than any other element. She gave this to me.
Only today did I learn that she passed away last week. My heart breaks for her husband and her son, for her family, for her colleagues and friends. I really only spoke with her for a few hours, but she became such an important part of my journey. She is a reminder that no encounter is just a drop in the bucket, but that they can all matter.
With gratitude for her kindness and openness, and with sympathy for her family, below is a copy of a post I sent her two years ago.
A note I send to Harisa in 2012:
“I ran across you in my travel notes. I guess I saw you even before we got in the flight. I didn’t write quite enough about you to create a whole story, but I somehow knew you were an extraordinary person.”
I am just like everybody else, Isador always says, because there is nobody like me in the whole world.
-Aleksandar Hemon. The Lazarus Project