Walking Past Open Windows

"Do you know what *genius* means?," the stranger on the train asked me. "Hmmm, someone who is smart; I mean really smart. Smarter than the norm," I replied. He shook his head with a messy crop of hair on top. "A genius is someone, who never gives up. Never give up writing love. Never be obsessive about what others think of your words. Try to write the words, which float out from your unconsciousness; in the middle of the night or elsewhere under any special circumstances," he said.

Last week, Kerry asked us to talk to a stranger and write about it, which for me is nothing new or offbeat. I do it all the time. On the train ride home, while my mind was full of new and old ideas, the above conversation took place between me and a guy who seemed graceless with a huge inner scar. I got home, ate something and fell asleep. I had a dream. I don’t remember a thing. I woke up to the sound of the alarm and the same routine began. A few hours passed. I looked peaked. Took the lift down for some fresh air in temperatures far above zero. I took a quick glance at my own shadow and realized that only a shot of espresso can bring my focus back to reality. I entered the little shop on my right, put the coins, including a lot of pennies, down on his counter and asked for a double shot. He looked at me with a sweet smile. I looked at his inner arm and saw an appealing tattoo font. I grabbed it and read: "Keep walking past open windows." I asked him to tell me the story behind it. He did with a bigger smile, looked into my eyes, and said: "Never give up." I was stunned. A few tears found their way in my eyes. Two strangers with diverse histories told me the same thing in less than twenty four hours.

I walked more unfocused out the glass doors while listening to the sound of the Doors: "People are strange when you’re a stranger... Faces look ugly when you’re alone..."

... and that day, I never got back to reality.