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I forgot to tell you something. Yes, something about the vitamin guy with the rusty hair sitting next to me at the Smiling Elephant. It turns out he and I have more in common than a penchant for cashew chicken and vitamins.

I had told him that we were from out of town. He asked, “Where are you from?”

“Cincinnati,” I answered.

“I go there all the time,” he said. “Some of the most famous crystal healers in the world live in Cincinnati. I go to the workshops. I’m a crystal healer.”

I was a bit surprised. Cincinnati was ground zero for crystal healers? “Well,” I said. “I didn’t know that.”

“Yeah, I’m there a lot.”

You know how, when you meet someone from a different city, you think you’re never going to see them again? I realized now that I might see this stranger again—not at a crystal healing workshop, because I wasn’t planning on going to one, but maybe at another Thai restaurant, this time in my hometown.

Meeting him reminded me that there is serendipity everywhere. We are all connected in some way, whatever our beliefs, pastimes and passions.

When I got back to Cincinnati and sat down at my desk, I saw the violet amethyst crystal cluster that I had placed in a short, fluted glass vase a few years ago. I picked it up and gazed at it as it sat solidly in the palm of my hand. The crystals were sharp and dusty, yet beautiful.

I turned it over and felt the bottom of the tumbled rock formation, which was bumpy, scratchy and greenish. How old is this crystal? I wondered. What part of the world does it come from?

I had bought it for its beauty and sparkle, but in doing a bit of research I discovered that its purpose is to promote harmony and balance, to calm the mind and offer self-healing. It is even known to strengthen the immune system.

In honor of the healer at the Smiling Elephant, I carried the crystal to the laundry room sink and ran warm water over it, watching it regain its original, exquisite clarity.