02 May 2007

The Lives of the Saints.

This morning I was coming to work and I passed a woman talking on her mobile with tears streaming down her face. Not happy tears, but sad tears. It was a beautiful morning, sunshine and mild, and she was walking, dressed for work, with tears on her flushed face. I was by her in a flash, going the opposite direction on my bike, but she stayed with me a bit longer, because I thought we've all got our particular dramas unfolding daily on this shared stage.

Maybe it was a relationship suddenly shattered, and she was recounting the details to a close friend, seeking both catharsis and reassurance. Her boyfriend -- or girlfriend, who knows -- had cheated on her, left her looking foolish at a dinner party among friends, broken off the engagement. Maybe.

Maybe a death in the family, one parent calling her to tell her the other had died, suddenly, tragically, or maybe finally after long illness. And she was stuck in this city hundreds of miles away and wanted only to remember their family vacations and dining room table all over again. Maybe.

Maybe she herself received diagnosis of a serious illness, the long road of life suddenly becoming much shorter, several futures closed, and freedom constrained by beds and tubes and machines. Maybe.

Maybe she just couldn't take work anymore, the long days spent in anonymity for accomplishments and beration for shortcomings, another beautiful day that she wouldn't see again until the sun had fallen below the level of the taller buildings and the shadows were lengthening along the sidewalks, doing work she didn't like for someone she didn't respect. Maybe.

I don't know. I passed her by and she was gone, lost in the flow of my life.


Reya Mellicker said...

What a beautiful post! So humane.

Sometimes sadness is palpable, radiating from people. You saw the tears, but it hit you, too, a wall of sadness emanating from this person. In moments of sadness, I know it always helps me if I share it with someone. She was talking to someone, but inadvertently she shared it with you, too. It's very generous of you.

Maybe today is a better day for her.

La Petite Princess said...

What a touching post. I've been that girl before, and it is comforting to know that there are strangers among us who care.

Momentary Academic said...

Lovely! Just so lovely.

mysterygirl! said...

I like this post a lot, and I like Reya's response to it. I've totally been this girl, so I hope that any onlookers had as much empathy as you have.