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Gratitude: The Beginning of A Beautiful Story

How it all started…

When things were yet again falling apart, I didn’t get upset the last time. I figured that there must’ve been a reason for it. So I sat tight, accepted that that was the current situation- but only the current situation. I held myself accountable for the parts that was my fault. I didn’t rely on my strength entirely. Instead, I looked around at what was in tact. I had friends, I was employed, I worked with people who gave a damn about me, and I gave a damn about them. My customers loved me and looked forward to seeing me. I was still in the place that I’ve always wanted to live in. Although I wasn’t comfortable, I was provided with a safety net that prevented me from homelessness- and I’m forever grateful for that.

I didn’t pout. I didn’t complain. No “woe is me/ why me” attitude. I didn’t try, in vain, to build myself into a super being of strength. However, I used the two superpowers that I had at the time: the power to count my blessings and the power of realization. So everyday I displayed that even in peril, I am grateful for what I have. By doing this, strangers gave me love in a plethora of ways. I felt great that I could brighten other people’s day as they had for me. I gave love to LA, and LA gave it back. I kept that vibe going by using that superpower: the power of counting my blessings.

It’s my belief that by doing that, my 2nd superpower was activated: the power of realization. Knowing it when I’d see it- but more importantly, feeling it before I saw it. And that’s when life changed… a lot….


One thing I can say about Whole Foods is that when management notices a persons strong points, they’ll utilize that to the fullest. Since I’m a super Virgo, accuracy, efficiency, and speed is my game. With this being the case, I was pretty much put in charge of the cafe. I was good at getting folks in and out, having a good time with my customers, and then getting them the hell out! Lol!!!

Working in that area, I quickly became acquainted with my coworkers who worked in nearby departments. We’re sort of a clique. So, when that area is slow, we all congregate and chat. On this particular Saturday, it was rather slow. I was chatting with my coworker, Sam, with my back turned to the rest of the store. I could tell by the look on Sam’s face that someone had walked in, but I didn’t look. I figured that he’d tell me if he saw that they needed help, so we kept chatting. Minutes later, he said “he’s ready to check out”, so I turned around to go back to the register.

When I got to the register, there was this tall guy with very, very long hair, standing there in a hat. He was buying sushi. I felt something…odd. I can’t really explain it in words, but when I looked at him, the whole world stopped. There was this very strong eye contact- but I didn’t see his eyes, I looked through them and saw what I now believe was his true self. The real him.

I can’t remember what we said to each other, but I’m sure there was some sort of banter. I rang him up, handed him his change (all while still entranced with the eye contact). And eventually, he walked out. As he walked out, we maintained the eye contact, and my eyes and head swiveled as he walked out. I watched him leave until I no longer saw him. I had NEVER done anything like that. In fact, I make fun of people who do things like that! But there I was, doing it.

After he had faded from my sight, I felt empty and sad. As if whatever energy I had that day, he had taken it with him.

Working in the cafe, I pretty much know my customers, they’re mostly regulars. Those that I don’t know, someone else from that or a nearby department knows. Since I had never seen this guy before, I was worried that I might not see him again. My coworker, Bebe walked by me as she pushed a cart of pastries to put on display.

Me: Bebe! Have you ever seen that guy before? The one who just walked out.
Bebe: the one with the eyes?
Me: all of our customers have eyes, Bebe. I mean…. don’t most of our customers have eyes?
Bebe: No! I mean he had pretty eyes.
Me: (thinking of all the eye contact that was just made seconds ago) I didn’t notice his eyes, but he was wearing a hat and had a long braid, like to his butt.
Bebe: yeah. He’s the one with the pretty eyes! I saw him, but I’ve never seen him here before.

Bebe kept moving, and I went back to work as usual. I felt shaken. Something in the universe was definitely different- even if only on those moments. I hoped he would come back. Seeing him couldn’t just be happenstance, especially since he seemed to be as awed and as floored as I was. He felt something too! Had to have! Clearly there had to be a reason, because things like that don’t happen to me.

I collected myself as best I could, and I finished my day.

…and then he came back.

The next day was Sunday, and I was off that day. However, the beautiful stranger stayed on my mind- even at my FAVORITEST place, Venice Beach. I had gone to the beach with a friend on that Sunday. And although I didn’t say a word about it I was kinda consumed with wonder and excitement.

Who was that guy?
Will I see him again?
I sure hope so….

The following day, Monday, found me at work and in my regular spot. I worked a mid shift that day so I got there at around noon. It was kinda busy so I didn’t get to talk much to Bebe. By the time things had temporarily settled, Bebe was bidding me “goodbye” for the day, and Sam was now there. I went over to the juice bar to kick it with Sam, and I asked him had he seen the guy with the long braid before. He said he knew who I was talking about, but no, he had never seen him before. He asked why I asked. My response: “becuzzzzzzzzz…… blushing”. We laughed.

Later, I’m not sure how much later (and I guess that really doesn’t matter to the story anyway), the store wasn’t busy, just steady. I looked to my right, and lo and behold, who did I see? He smiled and waved at me, I smiled and waved at him. We were both wearing masks, but I knew he was smiling. I said to myself as he walked past, “he came back to see me!”. Then, I looked over at Sam and said, “he came back to see me!!!”.

I had a line at that point, but I still watched him at the sushi bar. And now and then, I’d see Sam laughing and making fun of me. All while these things are going on, I’m silently praying:

Dear God,
Please let him come on to me. Let him ask for my phone number! PLEASE!!!! I’m too scared to shoot my shot at him. He’s gotta make the first move. Thank you in advance!

I saw him get in line. I became a bit giddy and nervous. As he got closer, I prayed harder:


Then finally it was his turn in line. He smiled and spoke. I smiled back and spoke. Then I thought, “DAMN! He does have beautiful eyes! How the hell did I miss that?”. And the energy that he brought on the first day was definitely still there. I was awed!

I rang his buy. He said:

I didn’t really want the sushi.
Me: then why did you buy it?
He: I wanted to see you.
Me: well, you should have just come to see me.
He: I wanna give you my phone number
Me: (hands him pen and paper…and thanks God!) I wanna take your phone number.
He: (pulls out small piece of paper) I already wrote it down.

SMOOOOOTH! Like Billy Dee Williams, Lady Sings The Blues smooth!

I took the paper from him and asked his name. “Rich” he said.”Rich, I’m Brandi (pointing to name tag).

Rich: I hope to hear from you soon.
Me: you’ll hear from me tonight.

He smiled a big smile (as his mask fell a little). And I smiled back and watched him leave again. After he was gone from sight, I felt giddy, nervous, anxious, excited. I felt myself grinning- HARD!!! As I began to ring the items of the woman who stood in line after him. I looked at her and said, “did you see that? Did you hear that?”

To be continued…

“I now believe in love at first sight. Especially after it’s happened to me.”

~ Shefali Zariwala

One thought on “Gratitude: The Beginning of A Beautiful Story

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