Today (actually a week ago) I was walking back to my apartment from Osaka, which is a really long walk so I was tired. Actually I took trains most of the way but the walking portion was still about twenty minutes of walking, and it was the last portion of the journey, making it feel like a lot more than twenty minutes.

Near my apartment but before arriving, I passed an old lady because she was hobbling along at an old lady’s pace and I was striding along like a bionic superman, which I am. But then I came to a red light at a crosswalk, and there’s no jaywalking in this part of Japan (though there was lots in Osaka!), so I was stuck for awhile. So long, in fact, that the old lady caught up to me. She pulled a piece of amber-colored candy out of her pocket. “Here, you should eat this. It’s good for you,” she offered with rock-solid assuredness as if she’d gone on living all these years just to give that piece of candy to me at that exact juncture.

Weirded out, I put a hand up and refused. “Oh, I’m okay. Thanks very much.”

“Oh, you don’t want it? Okay then.” She hobbled off in another direction, just as nonchalant as she’d arrived. I wondered if it was all a sign. Maybe she could read my aura. Maybe she saw that I needed healing. Had I made another wrong decision? Sometimes the help you need is the most unattractive option at first glance.

After safely crossing the road, I looked back briefly, but the old lady was nowhere to be found.