I was walking back to the office from having lunch in the park yesterday and approaching the street where the building I work in lives when I heard “I like your hair.” On my left side and older gentlemen who appeared to be of Latin descent had fallen in step next to me. He was wearing a uniform, the company label printed on his shirt I could not recall and he had a slight accent.
“Thank you.” I said smiling. He then gestured toward his chest and said “That’s from the heart.”
“Thank you.” I said smiling more and looking at him. “I really appreciate it.” I kept walking at the same pace. He was still walking next to me yet not really with me. I let our paths separate naturally and never felt the need to speed up or say anything more. I walked into the midtown office building feeling pretty nice.
I didn’t want that moment ruined by thinking too much about it but clearly I thought about it. Not about how nice it was to get a compliment, and not about how I had been obsessing over how my hair (I have locs that I recently had colored several weeks ago) looked all day, but about how no stranger had ever complimented me before and added that it was from the heart. A man? No “what’s your number, you gotta man?” follow up? I think I was touched. He took a bit of a risk there and I felt it.
Risks are important. I think maybe if we take enough risks it might seem less like an opportunity for rejection and more like…you know…connecting, living.