Stranger with Teary Hazel Blue Eyes

During Thanksgiving week, I was invited by a good friend to his Cabo timeshare at the Diamante. This is a premium golf resort with two world-class courses. Yeah, it’s always good to have friends who owns boats, planes, season tickets (to something good) and/or timeshares. I’ll blog about golfing later but I have a different story to share on this post.

On the way down, I boarded the Alaska Airline flight and had situated myself in my seat and was on my phone when a young woman said hello and sat next to me. She was full of energy, and I presumed she was excited about her pending holiday in the sun.

Once the flight took off, we made small talk, and I asked her the most obvious question, “Are you going to Cabo for vacation?” That simple question brought tears to her eyes. I was dumbfounded. How did I make her cry?!

She informed me that she was actually going to Cabo to spread ashes of a loved one. I was mortified. I expressed my condolences and tried to stay engaged with her while she was being emotional… without being creepy. I kept my distance but maintained direct eye contact in the most sympathetic way possible. I really felt bad for her.

It was then that I noticed that she had amazingly beautiful hazel blue eyes. Despite the tears, or maybe because of them, it was hard not to notice. I’m usually not a person who pays attention to those things in strangers, but I did.

She was sensitive and tried to collect herself. She apologized for being emotional and said it was my “unlucky day” to have to sit next to her while going to somewhere fun like Cabo. Little by little, I learned that her boyfriend died of a heart attack in his sleep at their place in Cabo. His body was returned to Seattle and now after the funeral, she was taking the ashes back.

So young! How is that possible? But apparently, it’s not that unusual. She was happy in moments talking about him and then emotional the next. It was a lot for me to handle and not what I was expecting on a flight heading to a vacation. But time passed quickly and we had a good, intermittent banter throughout the flight.

One reason that I was so interested in her story was because recently I was diagnosed with an onset of heart disease, which lead to a bout of self-pity. Now, I felt silly about it all. My situation is minor and is being monitored. This young man died at the age of 37.

Looking back now, I appreciate that she was open about her situation and that she allowed herself to be vulnerable and shared some of her emotions with me, a stranger.  So often, it is hard to be that open with someone who is even close to you.