I thanked you when you paid me a compliment, but I’m not sure that I fully understood what that compliment would do to me until many days, if not weeks later.
It was a statement, made without explanation, without judgment or pity. It was just plainly, a nice thing to say. And you said it to me, a visiting stranger who was secretly a little afraid of you.
The peculiar and beautiful irony isn’t lost on me: a simple compliment from an unknown man (who happens to be a mental patient) came my way. It was so very basic and yet so very complicated.
I could tell this story in a humorous and self-deprecating context the next time I have dinner with friends, and they would all laugh and shake their heads at me. But I won’t, because I’m taking this experience to another place entirely. Just a small place of gratitude.
When I see you again, I will gladly talk to you, because you were kind and made me smile and you taught me a humble lesson that I will keep close to my tender heart forever.