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The Kindness of Strangers

The kindness of strangers has been beaten to a pulp, juiced by a world wrought with wretchedness — and compassion, well / the well of compassion has run dry as the floodplains run with the blood of a world without trust — but trust that this isn’t the whole story / and that better stories write themselves in / condensation hearts on windshields / an old woman’s soft smile on a crosswalk you’ll never cross paths with again / a random man lending a hand with the boxes you can’t quite carry / a ten dollar bill to fund the first meal someone has had in days, courtesy of a nameless someone else / baristas that treat you to coffee at five in the morning just to help you get going, throwing in a breakfast sandwich on the house when your card stalls and stops working / an airport receptionist calling your departure gate to wait for you, reassuring you that no, you won’t miss your flight when she sees the tears dripping down your face from fear of being stuck in an unknown place / somewhere in some city on some street, a stranger on the bus stands up to let you take a seat — a sea of people swimming in completely different currents, currently intersecting just enough to tip the scales in your favor and suddenly, the floodplain looks less like blood and more like water because trust that there is still life in this deceptively barren land / and that the kindness of strangers still stands.


~ Maaheen Shaikh `25

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