I Met You in the Rain on the Last Day of 1972

By UPLIFT on Sunday July 14th, 2019

Craigslist missed connection

He was Devastated for a Moment, but Inspired for a Lifetime...

This post was found in the Craigslist missed connection section. Not only could it be the greatest missed connections post of all time, but it is also a beautiful and poignant piece of literature.

“I met you in the rain on the last day of 1972, the same day I resolved to kill myself.

One week prior, at the behest of Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, I’d flown four B-52 sorties over Hanoi. I dropped forty-eight bombs. How many homes I destroyed, how many lives I ended, I’ll never know. But in the eyes of my superiors, I had served my country honorably, and I was thusly discharged with such distinction.

And so on the morning of that New Year’s Eve, I found myself in a barren studio apartment on Beacon and Hereford with a fifth of Tennessee rye and the pang of shame permeating the recesses of my soul. When the bottle was empty, I made for the door and vowed, upon returning, that I would retrieve the Smith & Wesson Model 15 from the closet and give myself the discharge I deserved.

Craigslist missed connection

I walked for hours. I looped around the Fenway before snaking back past Symphony Hall and up to Trinity Church. Then I roamed through the Common, scaled the hill with its golden dome, and meandered into that charming labyrinth divided by Hanover Street. By the time I reached the waterfront, a charcoal sky had opened and a drizzle became a shower. That shower soon gave way to a deluge. While the other pedestrians darted for awnings and lobbies, I trudged into the rain. I suppose I thought, or rather hoped, that it might wash away the patina of guilt that had coagulated around my heart. It didn’t, of course, so I started back to the apartment.

And then I saw you.

The Old State House in BostonThe Old State House in Boston

You’d taken shelter under the balcony of the Old State House. You were wearing a teal ball gown, which appeared to me both regal and ridiculous. Your brown hair was matted to the right side of your face, and a galaxy of freckles dusted your shoulders. I’d never seen anything so beautiful.

When I joined you under the balcony, you looked at me with your big green eyes, and I could tell that you’d been crying. I asked if you were okay. You said you’d been better. I asked if you’d like to have a cup of coffee. You said only if I would join you. Before I could smile, you snatched my hand and led me on a dash through Downtown Crossing and into Neisner’s.

We sat at the counter of that five and dime and talked like old friends. We laughed as easily as we lamented, and you confessed over pecan pie that you were engaged to a man you didn’t love, a banker from some line of Boston nobility. A Cabot, or maybe a Chaffee. Either way, his parents were hosting a soirée to ring in the New Year, hence the dress.

For my part, I shared more of myself than I could have imagined possible at that time. I didn’t mention Vietnam, but I got the sense that you could see there was a war waging inside me. Still, your eyes offered no pity, and I loved you for it.

After an hour or so, I excused myself to use the restroom. I remember consulting my reflection in the mirror. Wondering if I should kiss you, if I should tell you what I’d done from the cockpit of that bomber a week before, if I should return to the Smith & Wesson that waited for me. I decided, ultimately, that I was unworthy of the resuscitation this stranger in the teal ball gown had given me, and to turn my back on such sweet serendipity would be the real disgrace.

On the way back to the counter, my heart thumped in my chest like an angry judge’s gavel, and a future — our future — flickered in my mind. But when I reached the stools, you were gone. No phone number. No note. Nothing.

The counter at Neisner's DinerThe counter at Neisner’s Diner

As strangely as our union had begun, so too had it ended. I was devastated. I went back to Neisner’s every day for a year, but I never saw you again. Ironically, the torture of your abandonment seemed to swallow my self-loathing, and the prospect of suicide was suddenly less appealing than the prospect of discovering what had happened in that restaurant. The truth is I never really stopped wondering.

I’m an old man now, and only recently did I recount this story to someone for the first time, a friend from the VFW. He suggested I look for you on Facebook. I told him I didn’t know anything about Facebook, and all I knew about you was your first name and that you had lived in Boston once. And even if by some miracle I happened upon your profile, I’m not sure I would recognize you. Time is cruel that way.

This same friend has a particularly sentimental daughter. She’s the one who led me here to Craigslist and these Missed Connections. But as I cast this virtual coin into the wishing well of the cosmos, it occurs to me, after a million what-ifs and a lifetime of lost sleep, that our connection wasn’t missed at all.

You see, in these intervening forty-two years, I’ve lived a good life. I’ve loved a good woman. I’ve raised a good man. I’ve seen the world. And I’ve forgiven myself. And you were the source of all of it. You breathed your spirit into my lungs one rainy afternoon, and you can’t possibly imagine my gratitude.

Craiglist missed connection

I have hard days, too. My wife passed four years ago. My son, the year after. I cry a lot. Sometimes from the loneliness, sometimes I don’t know why. Sometimes I can still smell the smoke over Hanoi. And then, a few dozen times a year, I’ll receive a gift. The sky will glower, and the clouds will hide the sun, and the rain will begin to fall. And I’ll remember.

So wherever you’ve been, wherever you are, and wherever you’re going, know this: you’re with me still.”

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44 Responses to I Met You in the Rain on the Last Day of 1972

  1. A word, a smile, a moment to someone unknown can be a life link <3 we are all part of life's circle a breathtaking revelation 🙂

  2. It’s incredible one someone like that can walk into your life when you least expect it. I would love to hear a follow-up to know if they ever got to meet again.

  3. Its really wonderful !! I think that life give them a second chance to find each other in a different body 😀 Like resurrecting and stuff like that ..

  4. There are so many people walking around carrying all degrees of pain inside. As short lived as it was, an angel was sent to lift your soul high enough that you did not take your life. You were also sent as an angel to ease the pain the young lady carried inside her soul.Great story!!

  5. It touched me inside. I think people react to such kind of story differently. If they are aware of their own burdens and sometimes think it is too much, or don’t know how to go on… It reminds us, that all people have their own burden. No life is perfect. Sure, some have an easier life than others. But on the other way all life has its wonders and great moments. And if you welcome these and you don’t hide befind the dark times in you life, you get the chance to still love your life and encounter love, friendship an happiness… Okay, sorry for my bad English. I like the story

  6. I am so touched by reading this….it took me 22 years back….i haven’t seen that face for these years…but still it is with me….me too want to search that in Facebook…but never tried….because we are living our own life…may be i am flushed out frm his memories ..wishing him all happiness….

  7. A beautiful article . There are no coincidences in life , only the interweaving of people we are meant to meet who teach us many things. This woman was perhaps an ‘earth angel’ who appeared when you needed her . Her job ,done, she disappeared but sounds as if she lived on in your heart .

  8. Beautifully done, told and shared. A bit of kindness can change the course of a life. Perhaps she’ll read this and think of you. Perhaps you gave her the courage to pursue her own future. Kindness is never wasted.

  9. We never know how much and in what ways we affect each other. Because of that we should try to be our best selves. Even when we fall short we can be affecting someone as a “good bad example.” Or, knowing we fell short we can be apologetic and humble. We can all recall kindnesses of people we met randomly and never forgot it.

  10. Beautifull. This is why we should always try to be kind to one another. The simplest acts we can make can truly have a profound affect on anothers life. She was the slightest bit of hope that he needed. A simple smile, brief conversation, selfless moment that enabled this man to desire for more.

    • Just watched the video… the song is beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Yes, it is parallel to this story.

      This story is precious to me.

  11. Be not forgetful to entertain strangers: for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

    I think I love the interactions with strangers more than anything else because it’s often totally true , honest, heartfelt, and truly like two souls, two angels meeting. Don’t forget that she may well have been changed for life too by her meeting with him.

  12. Thank you for such a beautiful poignant story, one that maybe has changed my life too. Life works in mysterious ways, some in which we will never comphrehend, but I feel you changed her life for the better too and she still thinks of you..

  13. How utterly beautiful. Such a poignant gift of a moment. I think it probably changed something in each of them. As tears roll down my cheek I feel connected to both your pain and your joy. Thank you!

  14. What a beautiful story and so glad you met your ‘Teal’ angel and are now able to recount the story many years later. None of us know what is going on in the lives of the strangers we encounter in the street, the shop, sitting next to us on the train, in a cafe, wherever. We many never know the difference we make to someone by simply acknowledging they are there. x

  15. So beautiful! Was she real? Did she really exist? I’m certain that occasionally Spirit steps in and sends someone to help keep us on our lifepath. If he hadn’t met that girl, he would have killed himself, never married and his son would never have been born. It’s an endless chain of events which are not at all random. She may even have come to him from another time………….

    • Yes, but not the spirit.

      Nature, in fact. If one is true and faithful to their own values and soul, nature always gives us signs..that’s what I’ve learned.

  16. It shows you that no matter who you are or think you e done you matter; you never know how many people you’ve helped along the way. Beautiful story.

  17. You beautiful man. I hear you with your guilt and forgiveness, your realization of the small beauties of life overcoming the darkness. I’m glad you waited on the S&W. Your writing is more beautiful than you may realize.

  18. [[ It’s the stuff of movies isn’t it!! 🎥 Imagine the *ending if you could write it…💭 ]]

    It’s all of 4 years ago today since I discovered this incredible soulful reaching-out…
    It still brings me to tears. I’m still wondering to this day if he ever heard from this young woman who literally saved his life. 💔
    In my heart I would like to think so. What a pouring-out, such bitter sweet story… 😓

    It wouldn’t but take a few minutes to read and share this once again. !! Go on do it !!
    Especially if you live or have friends in State of Massachusetts.( Boston ) USA 🇺🇸
    You just never know what that ‘share’ could possibly lead to here on Facebook.

    *Truth or fiction: It’s unclear whether the story is real or a great creative work of fiction. *I honestly tend to believe it’s true. = One reader pointed out that the weather described in the story was definitely true for that day in history. ✅


    • It is a gorgeous story, isn’t it Brenda 🙂 And I can’t help but think a big part of its beauty comes with mystery.

      Much love,
      Team UPLIFT

  19. Awww such an incredible Sweet Story, I believe he truly met an Earth Angel. I hope too that one day they will meet again on this earthly plane. Now wouldn’t that be Incredible! Bless Your Heart. L&L to All. <3

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