Expressions

Stranger: prose

By CATALINA FERNANDEZ
Staff Writer

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“As if I were under the influence of magic, I began to type. I had found myself again.” (Jim Atherton/The New York Times/TNS)

Usually, the people who impact our lives most tremendously are relatives or inspirational public figures. Yet, it is not common that a stranger who has said but a few phrases to us can be such an influence. Oddly enough, I have experienced this strange phenomenon. ​

It all started about a year ago, I had just lost my job and gotten into a terrible argument with my best friend. Having recently graduated college, I had no idea what it was I wanted to do with my life. I was young, yet immensely disillusioned and skeptical. I had lost faith in others and in myself. It was not until one unexpected Sunday morning that I decided to walk around the city.

A man with a typewriter was sitting on a park bench. Since such a sight was so unusual, I could not help but stare. He noticed my gaze and called me over. Embarrassed, I slowly approached with hesitation. He told me he was in the process of writing a novel and was using his typewriter as a way to break out of his mental block. He told me it had helped find himself and improve his writing. Delighted but confused, I continued to listen to him as he explained the content of his novel.

Then, after about thirty minutes or so, he unexpectedly offered me the typewriter. At first, I thanked him and kindly declined the offer, but he kept on persisting. Out of respect, I finally accepted.

I went home and left the typewriter on my desk, initially planning to ignore it. After a few days, however, the typewriter captured my curiosity, and I decided to try it out.

As if I were under the influence of magic, I began to type. I had found myself again.

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