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For A Stranger

by Lauren Andrews

      Today, a man took his life. I was on the train that hit him. Me, who was trying to get to work faster transferred onto this train of death. And to think, I actually complained about the train shutting down: "Oh no, not again, these trains are so crappy, just the day I was trying to get to work early," I said. As I rushed away figuring I was close enough to walk, I heard the police officer say, "Were there any witnesses?" Witnesses! Witnesses to what? One lady raised her hand and said, "I saw it." "Did he jump?" the officer asked. "No, he just laid down on the tracks," the woman tearfully replied. Oh my god, I thought as I stood there stunned for a moment. Then I turned and began to walk toward my original destination. As I walked I almost broke down into tears--how petty of me to think about not making it to work on time when this man won't be making it to life ever again.

      I began to think about what would cause a person not to want to live anymore. I started imagining this man I didn't know and would never know. Was he lonely? Did anyone love him? Was he poor or sick? What would make him so desperate to leave this life? Did he feel there was something better in the next? Who was this man? Was he someone's husband, brother, father, or friend? Could he be a Doctor, Lawyer, burger flipper, or a bum? Then I started to think, am I next? Who am I? I f I died would anyone care? Sometimes, I feel unloved, unfulfilled, and unsatisfied with my life, but is it enough to just end it all so drastically? Would this be my final solution? Could I hurt my family and friends that way? Would the memory of me fade in their minds as they go on with their lives or will they continue to miss my presence forever? Would my nephew and niece forget all about me and that I loved them dearly, or would they continually wonder what happened to me, and question why I so suddenly went away?

      Then my focus went back to the stranger. Or was he a stranger? Could I know this person? Would the tear I attempted not to shed for a stranger be well deserved, because I would suddenly be hurt by this death? Am I related to this man? If I had stayed in the station to see the train move revealing the body, would I see the cousin that I ignored in the station the previous day, because he was talking to himself and I didn't want to deal with him making a scene or asking for money? Is someone going to be forever missing in my life?

      Could this person be someone I may have despised and in turn he despised himself? Maybe, it was guilt that did him in. Possibly, he was a murderer, rapist, spouse abuser, or child molester. Was he kind to his family? If I did know him was he nice to me? Did he have too much? Was he rich , did he have the best cars, homes, and jewels money could buy? Was he in jeopardy of losing all these possessions and decided that he could not live that way? Did he appreciate things like sunsets, smiles, and hugs? Or was he a waste of breath and space in this world?

      Besides being troubled, could he have been in trouble? Owed so much money that hopping on to those tracks saved him from being pushed on to them. Maybe, he figured that the insurance money would take care of his family better that he could. Was he physically or mentally ill? Was this train his savior from feeling like a burden to others? Was he trying to meet with someone he loved and missed so much that living wasn't worth it anymore?

      As sorry as I am that this man saw fit to take his life, I would like to thank him for making me think about my own life. Just as quickly as he lies down for an eternal sleep, I have been awakened, remembering that we are all given three special gifts: birth, life, and death. Also, realizing the choices I make and the actions I take between birth and death not only affect me but others as well. I may never be rich, but I know I will always have exactly what I need. I just have to look for what's good and special about the world around me, never forgetting to appreciate the little things like HI's and smiles and to give them freely because no one ever knows what could save or enhance someone else's life. Now, I can approach life with the fierceness and intensity of a pitbull. No more waiting, no more excuses, and hopefully no more regrets. Just the moment that I feel I can't stand to live one more second, I will take a deep breath and ride that second out, to see what happens next. The very moment I forget all these things, may I some how end up at the station again, so that I can remember never to take anything for granted. Today, a man took his life and in its place gave me a new one. Thanks, stranger.

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