Angel in Disguise
He was just a corner store clerk others may say. He was just a foreigner trying to make a way. Its so many details they leave out though. So many details they could never know. 1st Stop Food Store located on Cartwright and Quail Valley was one that is so familiar in my mind. I have been living in Quail Valley for as long as I can remember, and going to that corner store. I watched the old owners move in and move out, but the scenery stayed the same. I watched the new owner and his employer come in, watched them settle into the neighborhood like they had been there all their lives. . Inside the store never looked unfamiliar, every piece of candy, drinks, magazines, and chips were located in the same spot. Everything stayed the same; with the exception of one…the atmosphere changed. It was no longer just a corner store. It was a place where you would go in mad, tired, and frustrated, with low self esteem and then walk out with a smile feeling at peace knowing that nothing is as bad as we make it seem, as long as you take time out to smile. And no matter what he granted you that smile.
He was young, 21 to be exact. He had come to America to work and pay for college. He had no family here but you would never know, he always seemed so at home with his surroundings, never shaken by the world. I know I had to have visited that corner store at least once every week, and my family at least several days in two weeks. Every time I walked in his face lit up with a smile, as though my presence was good enough for him. He would ask “how you doing “and I would say “fine just tired, been working and going school.” I would gather my merchandise and go to the counter to check out. He never lost his smile though, his eyes stayed focused on mine and he would say “can I take you out this weekend?” I’d giggle and disregard the comment. It felt good though to have someone’s smile as beautiful as his match mine in a sort of sincerity that was undeniable. He made me feel beautiful even if I had walked in feeling ashamed. It never failed every time I went, we held a conversation. It was kind of like our weekly check ups on each other. If I had missed a session he would always ask where I had been, and all I can say is busy and tired.
Monday September 29, 2008 I awoke feeling routine. Dreading going to school tired of the same hair style, clothes, shoes, jewelry, and drama; I felt so trapped in my own life. There was nothing I could do about it so I washed my face, brushed my teeth, put my clothes on and did my hair, in the same uniform as every day. Then I walked to the kitchen, I cant remember what for now because my thoughts were quickly interrupted when my dad addressed me and said “ there’s been a shooting at the corner store, the young man that worked there was working last night around 10 and someone came in and robbed the store and shot him…they pronounced him dead.” I couldn’t believe it I didn’t want to believe it. Who was going to brighten the store now with only the power of their smile? Who was going to charm me every time I walked in just for a bag of sunflower seeds? Those questions don’t even matter now because I know it’s not going to be him. Now that place is different in all aspects it’s a certain sorrow that linger amongst those walls, a cautious silence that creeps around the store. Its no longer that place where people went just to get basic wants and needs only to come out with something so much more worth living for…what would that be…security. Knowing that outside the walls of that store the world may seem like hell, but once you step in you see the true beauty of kindness and the worth of friendliness. You could exhale and breathe that crisp air around him, because he made life a breeze. Now it’s all gone. I won’t see his face and his smile, but I can still hear his voice that innocent homely voice. One that will never be forgotten or neglected, I will always hear him, I will always remember the love that he showed the world, a love that was mistreated and taken for granted. His life meant so much more than I think he will ever know, because he helped me realize that just by simply speaking to some one can make them feel so important, a simple smile from me can brighten some one else’s day. From this day forward I’m choosing to live my life his way.
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