Who was he? And where did he come from?
I was leaving a book signing event shortly before Christmas, carrying a display table and pulling heavy bins full of books and racks. Other authors offered a hand, but I assured them I was fine even though my materials were heavy and awkward. Their cars were parked in a different section of the lot, so I was alone with my stuff. About twenty feet from my car a man's voice asked, "Can I help you?"
"Sure, that would be nice." Just to my right was a young, dark-haired man, maybe late twenties, in casual clothes, a baseball cap, and a backpack. I handed him the table and led the way to my car. I opened the trunk and thanked him, leaning the rolling bins and table against the back of the car. "What's your name?" I asked, extending a hand. All the while I was wondering where he'd come from since I hadn't seen or heard anyone approach, and why I'd accepted his help without hesitation when I'd turned down everyone else.
"Kevin," he said, taking my hand in his nice warm grip. "What is all this stuff?"
"I'm a writer," I told him. That started a conversation about what kind of books I wrote and what type of books he liked to read. We talked quite awhile, then I reluctantly said I'd better load up and get home. I started to give him a standard "Good wishes and God bless," parting comment, but stopped. "Kevin, there's something you're supposed to do. You've been thinking about it for a long time, but now is the time ... Does that make sense to you?"
To my surprise, Kevin teared up as he nodded his head. "Thank you," he said and reached out to shake my hand again.
I opened both arms wide. "I need a hug." He came in close and wrapped his arms around me. We embraced for a long time, then let go and smiled at one another. Finally, I twisted away from him and lifted the table into my trunk. When I turned back to get one of the bins, Kevin was gone.
I spun around in a circle, looking everywhere. Even running full speed, there were no buildings close by or places to hide. Kevin couldn't have just disappeared in thin air...or could he?
I'll never forget him.