Seen.

For the most part, the room was quiet. I had timed it perfectly to miss the rush, which was also great because then it didn’t look so weird that I was sitting by myself. I was eating, slowly. Something weighed heavy on my shoulders; my entire body felt tired. I did my best not to think too much.

One of the workers came and wiped down all the empty tables around me. He sang softly as he worked. Normally, that would find a way to annoy me but today I found myself leaning into the sound. Every once and a while he would switch to humming and I found myself wishing he would start to sing again. Wishing I could sit there all day and just listen to him.

He was too quiet for me to hear the words of his song. He was too quiet for me to even hear if he was any good. But he was soothing. And I needed soothing.

I stared out the window, thinking about his voice when someone spoke to me: “Hey. How are you doing today?”

I turned and he was down on a knee, looking up at me, an empty chair between us.

I smiled, politely, though I could feel it didn’t reach my eyes. I felt too heavy. “I’m good.” I replied, “How are you?”

Before I finished, he had interrupted me. He asked if I had just answered ‘good’ because society told me to, or something along those lines.

I hadn’t realized he’d been watching. I probably looked miserable. If I had known I’d be questioned, I would have put on a more socially acceptable face. I smiled again, explaining I hadn’t slept well last night. This was true. I hadn’t. Lies work best when they contain the truth. “I’m just tired,” I reassured him.

We talked for another minute or so. I shocked him by revealing how old I was- four years his senior. He was very clearly surprised. I reassured him again: I’d looked the same since I was fifteen.

“Well, I have to admit something to you,” he said, “I didn’t want to come talk to you.”

Flattering. My thoughts were along the lines of, ‘of course you didn’t. I probably looked like I wanted to kill someone.’

“But I came over because God kept prompting me to.” He went on, saying that, the entire time he was washing the tables, God has been convincing him to come check on me. His voice was still soft like his singing; comforting. “So I was just checking in.”

I thanked him; he didn’t realize how sincere I was in that moment. A real smile lightened my face for a moment as we finally introduced ourselves before he walked away and continued his work.

I could feel tears coming on so I was quick to leave.

‘I don’t need this right now,’ I prayed as I left, ‘I don’t have time to burst into tears in public.’

I explained to God that it didn’t make sense for Him to do that. I made a list of reasons why. He knew I was bad at kindness to begin with. And what if it wasn’t even Him?

But what if it was? What if He was reminding me that, yes, He had heard the prayer I had uttered this morning and He cared about the pain I was in. And He cared so much about the pain I was in that He decided to reach out to me in a way He never had before. What if He hand picked the sweetest soul, someone He knew I would be receptive to, just to remind me that He saw me? What if the pain I imagined carrying around on my back He could see and wanted to let me know that He saw it and He cared?

Because… Well, that does sound like Him after all.

-Melissa

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