A few mornings ago, I was walking across the hospital's courtyard towards Medical Center North, where I had to fill some administrative paperwork of no consequence.
A middle-aged lady was sitting on a bench at the edge of the courtyard, about fifteen feet away from me.
"beautiful weather today, isn't it sir?"
It had to be me she was talking to, because no one else was there.
"it sure is, ma'm. It sure is".
I was still walking under the gentle warmth of a round, yellow, morning September sun.
And it sure was a beautiful day. One of the most beautiful I had seen in a while.
With a sweet smile iluminating her otherwise tired face, she said
"you look nice, sir".
Of course, that day I was well-dressed for my presentation, but still, nothing out of the ordinary.
"Oh.. thank you..very much" I replied as I walked past her, sounding slightly embarassed, but flattered none the less.
I knew it wasn't anything more than a little compliment from a nice, ill, fifty some year old woman.
But it still felt great.
On my way back, I saw she was still there. I stood for a few moments in the sun-drenched courtyard, taking in as much warmth and as much light as I could, as if saving for a harsh impending winter.
As I stood there, I could hear her now somewhat familiar voice, again, talking to someone. But this time it wasn't me. It was a young resident who was quickly strolling along, a small number of steps ahead of me.
"What a beautiful day sir", she said.
"You look very nice today", she continued.
"You look very nice"
I remember, at that moment, I stopped breathing for a few seconds.
It was suddenly a little colder in the sun, and somehow there were fewer people around.
I went back inside, feeling somewhat weird, and sad. And somewhat alone.
I walked towards the coffee stand, where fortunately no one was waiting in line.
"One medium Mocha Joe, please" I told the young woman serving the coffee.
"Here you go doc"
"Enjoy this beautiful day, alright?" she chipped joyfully as she handed me the hot coffee-filled white synthetic cup.
"Oh I sure will, m'am" I replied with a smile, "I sure will"
as I took my first sip and walked slowly through the neon-lit corridor that leads back to the lab.