Goodnight Irene

On days that I open the store I’m on the train at 6AM and visiting the land of Nod by 6:15.
Early morning trains are relatively quiet and sleeping is an acquired and needed task I’ve grown quite used to utilizing.
It must be my internal clock but my eyes automatically open right after the train leaves the Yawkey stop (Fenway Park) and I’m still barely awake by the time we get to my stop at Back Bay which is only three minutes away.

The other morning I got up from my seat with all the zeal of an 85 year old man and made my way to the stairs leading to the nearest exit.
I saw a woman standing by the door waiting to get off when my heart stopped.
Though I could only see the left side of her face she looked just like my mother.
I know my mother is no longer here but I found it interesting, maybe even semi- sweet,
that the mere sight of another human being resembling her can still make my heart miss a beat.
This woman’s hair, her eyes, nose and the shape of her mouth; even her clothes all screamed my mother’s name.

She must have known I was staring because she suddenly looked up at me, almost through me, smiled and left the train.

Sleepwalking my way to work, I passed on my usual cup of coffee from Au Bon Pain.
I guess I was still a bit dazed from the surprise encounter I’d just had and decided to continue sleepwalking through the surreal fog,
my scattered memories trailing close behind me.


16 thoughts on “Goodnight Irene

  1. That happens to me, too. Once in a great while, I’ll see someone who resembles my late brother. Usually, it’s the hairstyle that catches me off guard.

    It’s always when you least expect it, isn’t it?
    It’s happened to me numerous times but I finally decided to write about it.
    Look for an email re: GLT over the next few days. :0)


  2. Michael-
    That your heart misses a beat, just by seeing someone resembling your mom, is way better than ‘semi-sweet’.
    I have been caught off guard by seeing a man who looked just like my dad. I actually stopped in my tracks to regroup. I think it can be a good thing….it helps you to think happy thoughts the rest of the day.
    Here’s to happy thoughts……
    Lynn 🙂

    That you actually ‘connected’ to the post in this way is exactly why I wrote it.
    Always love your comments, Lynn


  3. The word that most comes to mind with this is “beautiful”. Beautiful picture of your mother, how you loved her, and how your life is while carrying her memory with you. Tugs on the heartstrings…

    ‘Heartstrings’ in a very nice word to attach to this post.
    I thank you dearly, WT


  4. Michael.
    When my younger brother died at age 27, I remember a few months later, spying him in the street and giving chase. This person dressed like him, walked like him, same long dirty blonde hair,,,and i remember calling his name as I ran. As I got closer I realized that No,,,,,this was wishful thinking but for a minute there….I believe it was him!

    Awww, Matty. Nice memory.
    In a strange way, you reminded me of Stephen King’s “Storm of the Century
    Have you seen it? If you have, you’ll understand why I asked.


  5. this really struck a chord with me and had me a bit happens to me so often…it may be someone’s hair, their laugh, even a smell, or, like here, a striking resemblance….
    i enjoy posts that make the back of my neck tingle….

    Sense of smell is a very powerful thing.
    What do you think of when you smell a crayon? See?
    I made your neck tingle? Coolbeans. 😉


  6. That sounds like a beautiful moment.
    I now have that song in my head too .. Absolutely love it.

    I am so happy you have the song in your head.
    I was soooo hoping someone would mention that.
    It was my original intention in the naming of the post.
    Thanks, Red.
    I’ll see you in my dreams


  7. it’s nice to have memories so crisp and clear that someone can stop your heart for a moment. that was a nice story

    Thanks, JB.
    Much appreciated


  8. Lovely.
    I had a moment like this, once. Except it was so fresh, the grief, that I ended up breaking down instead of just stopping for a moment.
    Tears streaming down my face, I wondered if life just has a way of forcing us to feel even if we may not want to. Think we don’t need to. When we think we’re okay.

    I think you’re right.
    Life does have its way with us sometimes.
    And maybe that’s not such a bad thing


  9. michael,
    sometimes i think that angels throw us gifts every now and then. it seems today was your day for that bestowment. how wonderful that you were able to see her again. i’m glad for you.


    It’s funny, I did ‘feel’ like I saw her again.
    And angels? Oh, yeah.
    They’re everywhere . . .
    Real nice to hear from you, Sarah
    I’ll be by your place very soon.


  10. I fucking loved this. I think it is one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard of – wow, you never know what life will give you. Do you?

    That you ‘fucking loved this’ is more than enough high praise for me.
    Tanks, my favorite Gator


  11. It’s moments like that that make us smile as we are laying in bed at night remembering our day…they keep you warm when it’s cold and remind us that life is as unexpected as it is precious… was very good to read this.
    Cheers, Kelly

    Once again, marvelous insight


  12. I sometimes think I see my grandfather in the face of another, and it always makes me lose myself for a second or two. Lovely, moving post.


    Thanks, Smith
    If this post makes you think even a little bit, I’ve done my job


  13. I think it’s a common occurrence and who knows, maybe our loved ones are still hanging around now and again and giving us a nudge once in a while in this way. I’ve read about it many times.

    Thanks for sharing.

    Peace, love and understanding.

    A ‘nudge’ is a real nice way of putting it, Roobs
    I think you may just be right


  14. I’ve had that happen but not that exacting (is that a word? I don’t think so, but is spooge a word? work with me here)…. not that “exacting” because this woman you saw had a lot of similar features which would have freaked me out. My dad passed the day after Christmas 2004 and every once and a while I’ll see an older man and smile because there is one feature that reminds me of my dad (i.e. long skinny white legs, my dad was “all legs” – or the glasses, etc) and it makes me sad but never where it’s almost exactly like him. That would really throw me for a loop and probably send me on a downward spiral for the day.

    Interesting. I don’t think it would throw you for a loop though.
    These kind of things have always interested me and this post just sort of happened.
    Weird, huh?
    And yes, spooge is now a word 😉


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