Extraordinary in the ordinary

When three words led to a moment of epiphany

She was quite stressed. In a matter of fact tone, I said “Life is short.” And that was it. Something cracked open inside her!’
Published at Thrive Global.

I had a physiotherapy appointment today. Thanks to over-enthusiasm on the jogging track last evening, I tore a tendon in my right foot. But there was nothing to worry. My physiotherapist is an amazing lady. She’s not only a credible professional but also a lovely human being.

I happily reached the clinic almost half an hour before time, and said hello to the receptionist. She’s an equally amazing lady, very diligent with her work and warm-hearted. Usually, we chit-chat for a while, but today, she seemed caught up. So I settled down. There were other people waiting for their turns too. Some fidgeted with their gadgets, and others stared at the wall. I had an urge to tell them all that everything would be fine because they were in the care of the best physiotherapist in the city! Well, I controlled my enthusiasm, and decided to employ my energies elsewhere. So I picked up one of the magazines laid out on the side table.

While I was reading the cover story, a part of me could hear the receptionist talking on the landline at her desk, barely four steps away. She was trying hard to convince someone about something, and sounded upset. I didn’t catch the details intentionally. But sitting at earshot distance, it was clear that she was quite stressed. When her call ended, there was silence in the room, but the air remained tense.

I looked up and asked her, “How are you?” (It wasn’t the regular ‘how are you’ greeting. I really wanted to know how she was doing.)

She nodded her head, gave a brittle smile, and continued to stare at the computer screen.

I began to flip through the pages of the magazine, and asked, “Are you worried?

This time, I heard a sigh and a “Yes.

I said, “Don’t worry…” And then, I don’t know what came over me. In a matter of fact tone, I announced “Life is short” and looked up at her.

That was it. Something happened. Her face lit up! She flashed a big broad smile, and repeated the words “Life is short!” just as I had said them, and began laughing.

It felt like something cracked open inside her. She looked down, thought to herself for a couple of minutes, and announced once more, this time with great conviction, almost like a morning affirmation, “Life. Is. Short.

I was so happy to see her in her elements!

She shifted away from the computer screen, opened the drawer below her desk, took out some papers, and got down to work. The vibe in the room became relaxed.

Three words was all it took.

This article was published at Thrive Global.

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