‘You Raise Me Up’

By Lisa Pezzolla

Sunday was a picturesque day; we started by going out for breakfast first and then headed to a park in Nyack to enjoy the beautiful day ahead that was perfectly predicted.
The sun was shining and the sky blue, a day to enjoy the outdoors by the water. I was with a friend of mine, Denton, and we were in his parked car talking when a young man walked toward us, all excited, asking questions about the car.
He then intensely focused on the trees and plants that were surrounding us. He then told me he liked music. So I opened my Pandora Radio application on my phone and started playing the Billy Joel he requested. His face lit up and he was so excited and he shared that he takes voice lessons. In between singing, he announced his name was Zach. At this point I was still sitting in the car and I handed him the phone and I proceeded to get out of car.
Zach and I walked over to sit on the bench as we listened to music. At one point, he reached for my hand as he sang and squeezed it so gently with a big smile. We continued staring out to the Hudson River and talking about all subjects that he enjoyed. Boats passed and in the distance the Tappan Zee Bridge stood tall. Pigeons and ducks landed in the water to eat the treats that folks threw into the water.
One of Zach’s favorite singers is Josh Grobin, so I found it for him. He stood up and faced me and sang at the top of his lungs “You Raise Me Up.”
As I watched him, tears came down. This special new friend made sense out of what life is all about. After he was finished, he sat back down and he hugged me. Zach is an autistic young man. As he walked away I could tell he was looking to see who would listen to him next. I’m not sure if we will ever see each other again, but he deeply touched me. All he wanted was a friend to listen.

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