From across the pond came peals of carefree male laughter, two friends enjoying the luminous night air. Their joy rankled, insulting my hard-earned gloom. Without thinking, my anger welled up and shouted out, "Shut the fuck up!!!"
The laughter stopped. There was a pause.
"Why so angry?" came back across the water.
"Because life SUCKS!" I bellowed.
Another pause, longer this time.
Then, "Look at the good. Look at the good in your life."
He had me there. I was flummoxed. I wasn't about to get in a debate with the guy across the heads of the ducks. And compared to where I had been previous to UConn, there had definitely been improvement, and therefore, there was good. And, callow youth that I was, I was still not so dense as to fail to recognize that there were many, many people who had it far worse than I.
I walked slowly back to my dorm, thinking on the voice from the mist.
To this day, decades later, it stays with me. I wonder if the voice remembers that night. Whenever I get down and cop a squat on a pity pot, it comes back to me. I can always find something to be grateful about. On the flip side, one can never know the impact a positive comment can have on another - it can ripple outwards further than imagination.