I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.

Dear Bill Woods,

When I asked you tentatively if I could sit in the chair next to you – the one by the window with a view brighter than my future – and if I could possibly intrude on the quiet in the corner, I wonder if you could see the tears cowering in my eyes.

When I sat down in that recliner quivering like a baby bird and death-gripping the coffee so strong that even your nose recoiled from 5 feet away, I wonder if you knew how close I was to shattering.

When you set down your book and glanced at me before you started that conversation, what did you know about that quiet, pretty girl that caught the attention of everyone in the room and yet, hid in the glare of the window?

Because, Mr. Bill Woods, you said exactly what I needed to hear. You smiled like my grandpa and you spoke like my professor.

Because, Mr. Bill Woods, I had reached that point.

You know the one, where you keep blinking because you don’t want to see.  And yet, you asked all the right questions.  You know the ones, where you nibble away until you reach the heart of the issue.

Because, Mr. Bill Woods, you were God in disguise.  You knew nothing about me and yet 10 minutes later, you were complimenting my intelligence and saying how proud you were of me.  You reminded me that this new job (as ghastly terrifying and unfulfilling as it may be) was a stepping stone.  You honestly were the source of encouragement that I needed today in order to respond to the recruiter.

Because, Mr. Bill Woods, I thought about ignoring that email.  I thought about lying to everyone and saying that the job offer had been cancelled, that the clinical trials had ended, that my emails were lost in cyberspace, that the recruiter was an alien and was sucked back into the Mothership, that my singular goal in life was to become a 50’s housewife complete with the red lipstick and pearls – I had so many excuses prepared to refuse that step entirely.

And yet here I am.

Thank God for all the Mr. Bill Woods’s in the world.