A few weekends back I set out on a mission to my local furniture store to procure a new couch and side chair for my living room. After several years of my former couch being nothing more than a glorified doggie bed, smells and dog slobber included, I decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy and new set. Armed with my chai tea latte, I landed upon said furniture store determined to find not only the perfect couch and chair but also attempt to do so at a bargain price.It’s always comical to walk into a furniture store and watch the sales sharks circle you like your chum. Cue the theme from “Jaws”. Within ten minutes I was approached by no less than six associates all jockeying for my business and a commission. I then noticed this demure and polite associate and determined he would be the salesman who would earn my business. His name was Manny. Manny spent over two hours roaming the floor with me, tolerating my indecisiveness, changing my order twice (I’m really not that girl, really I’m not) and got me three cups of tea. Of course, that meant at least three trips to the ladies room which only delayed the process, but I digress. Once I FINALLY decided on the set I wanted to purchase, cue the “Hallelujah Chorus”, Manny had to wait for his manager to write up the invoice. During this time Manny and I sat on one of the couches and talked like two old friends who’d met up for coffee.
I had shared with Manny details of the latest film my son is working on and that I work for a VMS company. He shared with me how excited he was about going to a family reunion the following weekend. He then proceeded to tell me that this was the first time several of his family members were getting together since the death of this wife. She had died twelve years prior from bone cancer. I was becoming endeared to Manny and felt a pang when he told me about losing his wife. He then asked if I would permit him to show me a picture of her and his grandchildren. I was only too happy to oblige. She and they were beautiful. What struck me was how tenderly he spoke of his wife. His face lit up as he showed me one picture after another. You could clearly tell she was the love of his life and that his heart was still broken by the loss. I found myself becoming envious that she could have such a wonderfully beautiful effect on him after so many years of having passed. I sat with Manny and let him regale stories of him and his wife and found my own heart fulfilled and joyous. I was touched and happy for this couple whom I’d never met, yet clearly had such a tender, loving relationship. It gave me hope that perhaps one day, I too would have the same. To be loved so deeply and admirably. It was truly a beautiful thing to witness.
When I left, Manny shook my hand and thanked me for letting him share his stories. I was only too happy to have let him do so. He exuded a sweet spirit and genuineness that resonated with me. As I walked out of the store I realized that my initial mission was to buy a couch but in the end it was simply to be a friend and listening ear to a widower whose heart still beats for the love of his life.
I’m a firm believer that no one crosses our paths by accident and Manny was no exception. He danced on my soul for a brief moment. My need for a couch and his need for a friendly customer were all meant to be. I feel blessed and honored to have had the opportunity.