“Ummm… I’m sorry. This came to my house instead of yours. I’m at thirteen Clearwood and the mail person must have looked at it quickly and didn’t see the street.
“Since I was just a couple of streets over, I thought I’d deliver it. Wanted to make sure you got it in a timely fashion. For what it’s worth, I’m sorry.”
Steve took the letter from the man at his front door. A business size envelope addressed to him, from his company, with a large plastic window in it. Inside the paper was pink.
The man kept looking at Steve from the bottom of Steve’s front steps. “Is there anything I can do?” the man asked.
Steve looked at him askance. Then his eye fell back on the letter and the words, “Notice of Termination.”
Tears welled up in Steve’s eyes and in a moment that would have been awkward in any other situation the man stepped up and hugged him.
Steve would long remember that embrace for its simple poetry: a stranger, throwing caution to the wind, and stepping up to give him what he needed.
He never saw that man again, but, during the two long years of unemployment that followed, Steve often looked back at that hug and gained strength to face the day, strength to receive another rejection and strength to keep going no matter what came his way.