You feel compelled to return to the coffee shop the next day. As you go, you chuckle to yourself that maybe your wife thinks you are having an affair. You imagine yourself saying: No, honey, I'm not seeing somebody. I go to the coffee shop to talk to a teenager about life.

When you arrive, Joel is there and he seems to have been waiting for you.

He tells you to sit and says the you haven't much time, so listen closely.

You lean in.

Joel says to you: Life is the hope that one day, we will know how to love. Life is the dream that somehow we will help another person. Life is a mutual agreement between you and the other 6 billion people on the earth saying that you will take care of each other . Life is how you live it.

He gets up and leaves.

You go back to the coffee shop the next day. Joel is not there. But you remember what he said. You remember and you decide that that kid really did know what he was talking about.

You go home. Your wife looks pale and tired.

You go up to her and say, I love you, darling. I haven't told you in awhile, but I want you to remember that I love you.

She smiles.

You go into the living room and kiss your son and daughter. You tell them that you love them.

They smile.

You call your parents and tell them that you miss them and that you hope to see them soon.

You feel better once you have done that. You feel as if a weight has been taken off your shoulders.

The next day, you are driving home from work. You are humming. You do not see the driver who has lost control of his car. You do not see his truck slam into yours. But you remember thinking, as you  feel your body shutting down, what if I hadn't told my wife that I love her? What if my kids didn't know that their dad cared about them? What if I hadn't met Joel?