He appeared out of nowhere one day. I had walked that path along the river on my lunch hour for years. It had been my way of clearing my head of the constant trials and tribulations at the office. Then one day out of the blue, there he was sitting on the bench serenely staring out at the river. By his physical features I thought he was First Nations. Perhaps, he was an elder of some tribe? He certainly looked the part. He had two long grey braids, turquoise jewellery and a chocolate brown cowboy hat. His chiselled features could have given him a starring role in the movie, Dances with Wolves. I passed by him on the first day and smiled. He smiled back and tipped his hat. Did the same on the second day and by the third day my curiosity had gotten the better of me, and I found myself sitting down beside him on the bench.
“Hi. Mind if I share the bench with you?” I asked.
He turned and mischievously grinned at me, “it’s about time you sat down. I have been waiting for you. Two days I had to wait. I got a story for you.”
I was somewhat taken back by his response and thought, what have I gotten myself into? Why did you let your curiosity get the better of you? You don’t have time to listen to some story by some little old man.
“But you do have the time,” he casually replied, “and I am not a little old man with an unimportant story.”
“I am sorry,” I looked at him rather embarrassed. “I …”
He broke in before I could start my sentence and shook his head, “the word sorry is so over-rated in your world. It’s really a meaningless word. You are only using the word because you think you have offended me or you are trying to be polite. I am not offended by what you think. Your thoughts about me and my story are irrelevant. What you think of me is neither here nor there. I have a story to tell and either you want to hear it or you don’t.” He rolled his eyes and let out a heavy sigh, “I am sure there will be someone else that comes along the path that will be interested in hearing my story. You are not the only person in this world.”