“Good morning!” the desk clerk said cheerily.
It was 6:00 a.m. as I padded into the Hampton Inn lobby sitting area. Everything was softly lit and I was the only patron wandering the hallway….just the ambiance I needed to sit quietly and wake up. I had my books and writing pad as I headed straight to the coffee: two pumps of hazelnut creamer, half robust, and half decaf. I sat down and got situated with my coffee and book when I felt a presence or some kind of energy nearby. Suddenly chilled, I took a long breath in, savoring the blend of hazelnut and coffee aroma. Finally, taking a sip, my eyes glanced over the top of my coffee cup and I saw him. Across the room, directly opposite me, was an older gentleman. He seemed relaxed as he sat with perfect posture, looking straight at me.
He had my Daddy’s eyes.
It felt so strange and yet comforting. He was dressed in worn khaki pants, a plaid shirt, and a tattered baseball cap. He smiled at me and I smiled back, but his eyes went right through me.
For a split second, I wanted to cry “Daddy!” and go to him for a hug and a whiff of his Old Spice aftershave. I wanted to take up where we left off and say, “How are you?” “Where have you been?” But, I knew the answers. So I diverted my eyes back to my book.
I didn’t want to stare. I just wanted one more peek into my Daddy’s eyes, and when I finally dared to look up….he was gone. There was a voice inside me that begged to follow him, yet I sat completely still, totally rattled and at the same time….humbled.
As if on cue, the lobby breakfast area began to come alive with sleepy guests wanting a waffle and hot coffee. I glanced around, wondering if anyone saw what had just happened…did they too, see the gentleman in the baseball cap and plaid shirt?
I’m not at all sure what to think or how to feel about my encounter this morning. I feel a strange peace and warmth as I remember it. Was my Daddy wanting to see me too, just one more time?
I don’t believe I need to figure it out. I will just accept it as an embrace from above and carry with me the familiar smile and crinkled eyes as my secret reminder. Maybe it really is true that the eyes are the window to the soul.