Friday was a somewhat productive day at school. I’ve completed the majority of the coding and “hard” work for the current paper and now I am in the writing stage. In the early evening I stepped outside to call and wake up Hani (12 hour time difference) and to eat my lunch.

A man approached me while I was eating. He wasn’t unfamiliar; I think I’ve seen him around the electrical engineering buildings before. I was eating the last of my pretzels and admiring a pair of road bikes parked nearby (a post on my bikeless status is forthcoming). The man (quite tall, carrying a closed umbrella) walked past, presumably leaving for the day.

I paced idly, crunching. When I turned around, the man was walking back towards me with that direct-yet-indirect approach one uses when approaching someone who is otherwise engaged. I stopped pacing and he stepped forward and asked, somewhat disjointedly,

Have we talked before? I think I’ve? We’ve met? Before?

I had no idea who he was (besides having possibly seen him “around”) and so responded,

Um.. I.. don’t think so?

He then continued,

I was wondering if I could ask your opinion about something…

What a strange opening! Why ask the opinion of someone that you’re not even certain you’ve met before? He went on,

…about Jesus.

Ah. The “we’ve met before” was, as they say, an angle. This was an unusual confrontation – apparently he was leaving for the day when my presence inspired him to recite his patter. Perhaps I was eating with particular lust; perhaps I was eyeing bikes with envy. Perhaps I was kneeling before a statue of Baal.

We talked briefly.

When he had earned this day his daily bread he made to leave. Before he went on his way and left me to my pretzels he said,

Well, good luck. In life. In everything. We may never meet again.

There is something ominous in those words. Was he implying my demise? Would he be instrumental in it? Was he foretelling his own passing? Would it involve a cross?