No Longer Strangers

By Peter Welch

March 20, 2023

No Longer Strangers

I am a “book” with the Human Library and meet Eva, from Ukraine, at a virtual “reading,” along with other curious minds from Greece, Germany, Singapore, Ireland, the U.S. I am humbled that Eva has chosen to Zoom with us, strangers all, to learn something new, considering the chaos that must be her life. I ask her how she is holding up. If she is safe. Yes, I am safe, and out of Ukraine, she quietly offers. After I share a few pages of my “book,” bits of my life as a gay man living in rural Maine, I query the small group for questions. Eva gently asks: What makes you happy?

I feel a surge in my chest and an urge to openly weep. This lovely human, who has fled her homeland, a wartime refugee, is reaching across the 3,816 miles from Poland to Maine to wonder about a stranger’s happiness. I talk about our pup Dasher and the joy she brings to us when we walk and nap and play.

Then, I reflect the question back to Eva. She answers: That I am alive and my children are safe. She is stating the facts, her gratitude for their existence. We sit quietly, together grateful for their existence, and our existence together within these precious minutes. We are no longer strangers.

*names have been changed


Peter Welch is currently enrolled in an MFA Creative Nonfiction writing program at Bay Path University and is working on a memoir of his boyhood life growing up in Maine. He lives in Kittery Point, Maine.


Image by Maksym Dragunov courtesy of Adobe Stock

comments powered by Disqus « Back to Beautiful-Things

Newsletter Sign Up

shadow shadow