I saw you again today, and I rolled down the side window to ask to shake your hand. You were nice, though puzzled, and you extended your hand. I said that I just wanted to say thanks, and you looked surprised. I took your hand and you looked at me with questioning eyes. You said, “Who are you? Have we met before?”
Still hand in hand, I shook my head, no. Then I said, “I don’t know you, but I owe you. I look for You, everywhere I go, and when I see You, I only want to pay my debt.” You were puzzled. “What debt? I don’t understand.”
“Sir, I said. I saw your cap, and I knew you. You are one of the best, a stranger, yet my friend and my guardian angel. Didn’t You know that?”
And then he knew, and a tear, then two, wet his cheek and he tried hard to smile. “Ma’am , I used to think that, when what I did was going to make things safe for homes like mine. I grew up Red, White and Blue and did what was the right thing for me. I saw my khaki uniform just like a cape of strength and safety, and I wore it like that. I would do it again, if I could.”
Then the tears were mine, as I had not noticed sooner that the hand I still held was the only hand he had. I did not know him, but I owed him, a debt neither I nor any other caring person’s handshake could repay.
You said “It’s okay lady. You live in peace and happiness because I owed you, too. Let’s call it even.”
Letting go was hard, that time, and as You stepped away, You gave a sharp salute, and turned to go your way.
I will see You again tomorrow, or the next day, because I look for You so that I can, handshake by handshake, pay down a debt that I will always owe.