Seven years later and these tears of mine still surface at the most inopportune time. The sound of background music at work somehow beckoned her memory and the unstoppable saltiness began to well. Busy servicing spa clients and selling holiday gift cards I found myself trying to blink them away, when an older man, having had an hour massage approached me. Typically, relaxed, sort of dazed and enjoying the la-la land of post massage therapy, he gazed at my watery eyes. We exchange the usual check-out conversation but he made serious eye contact with me and in his thick Italian accent asked my name. He then said, “Well, Polly, you are very pretty and kind-hearted.” His eyes looked deeply and knowingly, into mine, he reached out to shake my hand, then wished me a Merry Christmas and left. Had I opened my mouth, I would have fallen apart. So, silence dictated. My mom was very pretty. And she was kind-hearted. She wasn’t perfect but she could’ve given lessons on the art of listening. I know I am my own person, but there are aspects of my sweet mother that I do believe carry on in me. Somehow that is comforting. And so are the sincere words, knowing eyes and keen sensitivity of a caring stranger.