Dear Crying Woman in a Hurry,
I saw you. I was bulleting to my destination, eyes smack straight ahead, feet smacking the pavement, and I was being pathetically proud, I think, because I had had some gin, and I was fed up with feeling small and alone. I rushed with my chin thrust up in the sky, arms slicing the air, and I was so wrapped up in walking like I mattered that I almost didn’t see you. But when I did, all my pseudo pride deflated; I went limp with empathy.
I caught your moment. Your face was creased in all the wrong, sad places. Your chin was tucked into your neck. Your mouth folded into south-facing brackets. And your eyes curled into desperate crescents. I stared at you. I think I hoped that you would look up. If you looked up, then I could reach out to you. In that moment, I longed for it.. It seems puritanical now but that crumple in your brow was so compassion-compelling
What happened? Why were you crying into yourself on a busy street on a Saturday night? Were you with that man who was walking behind you? Did he hurt you? There were people everywhere but no one stopped. The world doesn’t stop just because you want it to. The world doesn’t stop so strangers can help each other. I did not know how to reach out. So I didn’t.
But I did notice you. And as I walked on, delicately now, I turned around again. In case you looked back maybe, the way we look to the horizon when we get seasick. I was drawn to your sadness, I guess, which is a horrid thing to say. Perhaps it simply reminded me of mine.
I do not know what made that pain or how you fixed it, but I want you to know, to feel, somehow, that someone, somewhere, saw you and in that moment, regardless of your awareness, you were not alone.