I find Calgary a soulless place at times...everyone seems in a rush to be somewhere (someone) else and they don't seem to stop for one another. I've heard that it didn't used to be this way and I know that for many long time Calgarians they have found the change difficult and frustrating. Today I was in the mall and an older woman was standing in front of me. The minute I got behind her in line (with an awesome new Christmas dress in my hands incidentally) she struck up a conversation. This struck me as odd because typically I find malls to be an exaggerated version of all things wrong with the world and that day in particularly had confirmed it for me. Three people had cut me off in the parking lot while I was trying to park. At one point two people in front of me got out of their cars and started yelling at each other violently over who had started signaling first. So, when this lovely little lady was so warm and kind I guess it sort of caught me off guard. The little lady was holding a beautiful pair of red velvet pyjamas with gold trim (Jones New York $75...I'm such a snoop) and was telling me that her brother in law was in hospital with heart problems. The woman was from India and I had to laugh as I imagined some little Indian man wearing these women's red pyjamas in his hospital bed. I started telling her about the Heart & Stroke Foundation and how she could get further information on pacemakers and heart surgery and she seemed very happy to be talking. That is when she pulled a crumpled page from her coat pocket and unfolded it to show me the very pyjamas she was holding. "My brother-in-law saw these beautiful pyjamas in the flyer and before he went to the hospital he made me promise to get them" she said. "These exact ones. That is why I am here." I smiled and nodded and told her that it was nice of her to do that for him. "He was very worried that I would not be able to find them," she said, "and he wanted to make sure that his wife got these exact pyjamas in case he does not make it through his surgery." The moment she said this, my heart sort of stopped. Tears sprang to my eyes immediately - I thought it was the most romantic thing I had ever heard. This man, who is in his late 70's, is facing major surgery and worried he might die and his greatest concern is that his wife be left with the most beautiful, expensive velvet pyjamas.
These are the stories we miss when we stop listening...when we stop stopping. These little pieces of lives and loves, the very things that make it all worthwhile. Meeting this woman in the line up and hearing the story of an older couple who I do not know was the highlight of my day. Her story filled my heart with love and hope for the little man, who I hope gets better, and his wife who will be wearing her beautiful red pyjamas.