Friday, September 16, 2011

day in snapshots

Today as I drove I found myself being privy to images.

As I sat in my car on the access road, sun streaming in through the windshield, making me squint even with sunglasses on I stared as a small man walked from car to car begging for change. Usually I am not struck by this, and I always turn my face when they walk past my car. But today, I watched as this old emaciated man shuffled from a sapphire blue truck to a white beat up Buick, with one handing holding his faded black jeans up. His bony body swam in the pants and they came up far above his waist. What amazed me was that he still had his washed out polo tucked into the pants. The last shred of dignity perhaps that he could control? He looked like an old little boy with hollowed out eyes that life had taken. When he walked to my window I couldn't turn away this time. Instead I held out the only money I had, a handful of quarters, dimes, pennies. His hand smaller and more withered than mine struggled to hold what had fit just fine in mine, and his hand touched mine for a moment. It was warm. I looked at his face, wrinkled and sunken into its mouth center, and I saw resignation. He nodded and stared at the change in his hand before walking on still holding onto his pants. The light turned green and I drove off looking in the rear view mirror at the curved arch of his back shuffling back towards the sidewalk.

Moments later I was sitting in a diner with my sister. Talking, laughing, about our week. The people around us all doing the same. Smiles on their faces and cokes being drank. The clatter of forks and knives cutting into freshly prepared lunches. I laughed as she showed me pictures of my niece Mica dressed for her western day at school this week. Her little face squished together so tightly from her smile her eyes were closed. She laughed as I told her about a dream where I seemed to be losing control of everything while everyone in it seemed to be enjoying themselves. In the dream I kept cleaning. Today I came home to clean...

As I drove home, the pleasant feeling of having shared a meal with someone I love, I saw another image. As I turned, I'm not sure how I caught it, but a black car sat in the opposite turning lane. I saw a girl. A girl with a crumpled face of pain and hurt and fear who had tears streaming freely down her face. Who felt all these things so strongly she sat in her car, still trying to drive, but not able to control the overflow. And for that moment my heart broke for her. Because we have all been there, we have all felt that hurt or loss from someone that's made us lose ourselves in the depth of something raw and ugly and painful. It was no longer than two seconds that I saw her, but as I drove I looked back again, to try to see her car, to say a mental, "it will pass", even if she couldn't hear me. I saw the blinker on her tail light and the outline of her head before she fell out my sight. I blinked away the tears of sympathy that had sprouted and kept driving.

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