I was at lunch yesterday with my mother
when a little old lady came saunter
ing up to our table, hugged me and started talking hurriedly in the thickest German accent
I have ever heard, save that of my own Great Grandmother
, who is now dead. As startled
as I was to be embraced
by a total stranger
I did not draw back, instead I sat there, my fork frozen
midway to my mouth, with what I am sure was a mildly terrified
look on my face.
At first I was unable to understand what she was saying, what she was doing there, at my
table. The only thing I was able to register
was her scent
, which was unnervingly
familiar, although I could not place it. Finally, many minutes later, my mind allowed my consciousness
to proceed out of its retreat
to try to grasp
what was happening. She was still hugging me, never taking her arm from my shoulders, her hand always teasing the hair at the nape
of my neck. She was telling my mother about someone. John
? Maria Louise
? She spoke so fast, I only understood the names at first, until she hugged me again, and in a tone I'm sure only I was able to hear, she called me
John and stroked my head.
It was about this time that I realized we were the center of attention
in a rather large restaraunt, and I could not help feel the weight
of hundreds of eyes. As embarassed
as I was, I could not imagaine what it would feel like, for the old woman or myself, if I should turn her away at this moment. Even though I had never seen her before, I knew I had to be someone important
, and I couldn't just push her away. She kept repeating the same names over and over, and soon I discerned
that she was Annalise, I remind
ed her of her brother
, John which reminded her of Maria Loise, Johns' wife
, and Michael was her son
, who was living with John and Maria Louise back in Germany. This poor woman was distraught
to no end, and I happened to remind her of someone whom she loved, so I had an obligation
to let her hug me all she wanted, no matter how awkward
I felt about it.
After another ten
minutes worth of hugging and storytelling
she simply said she had kept us long enough, hugged me again, thanking me for letting her hug me, kissed my ear, and left.
Later, even after we left the restaraunt I could not shake
the incident from my mind
. I began thinking of possible reasons for her appearance
. She could have been a sign from God
. She could have been totally crazy and amnesic
and not really German
at all. But more than likely she was just a sweet old lady that was homesick and missed her family
. I felt weird having been a prop family member
, but then she must have felt equally as strange using me as such. She seemed happier when she left us, so it couldn't have been anything bad.
Now almost twenty-four hours later, I still can't come up with the proper adjective
for the feeling I still can't shake. All I know for sure is that strange things happen for strange reasons, and while the reasons may not always make themselves known to me, they do always exist.