One Dublin day, I sat on a street curb outside of a grocery store contemplating life as I often do. I was on the verge of a breakthrough when a man made a beeline for my friend and I. It was broad daylight and crowded, but still, my heart was racing. He knelt down inches away from my face. He was so close I could see each individual green spec in his eyes. I felt my adrenaline pick up and I knew I needed to get out of this situation. Something wasn’t right.
He looked at my friend and told her he was completely mad. She nervously laughed but I believed him. He turned back to me with unreadable eyes. He told me of all the people he had killed in Afghanistan and pleaded with me to pray for him. He took my hand while staring straight into my eyes, still inches away. I was too afraid to tell him I didn’t pray. And the longer the silence, the more intense his eyes became. I couldn't break eye contact, almost as though I were working with magnetism.
In this moment I was terrified of him, but I loved him. I wanted to shake him to snap him out of it, then hug him back to life but I also wanted to run away.
I agreed to pray. Relief swept over his face as he squeezed my hand and got up. He walked away and as quickly as he had appeared, he vanished into the shuffle of Dublin's city center.
I'll never forget him.