She is sitting, in the sunshine, crying. Not crazy, loud. Not look at me, sobs. Not angry, shrieks. Just gentle, soft crying. Heard from a distance it would sound like a baby's whimper. She looked like she'd just got the news - her mother's died, her husband's cheated, her dog was run over, her life has forever changed. She looked struck down by grief, as if she had lost both the will and the power to move from that spot. As if she'd be there, a statue in the memory of human pain, for eternity.
My heart immediately felt for her. I didn't know what had happened, how she came to this place, where she'd be going next. But it didn't matter. I saw grief. I saw pain. I saw loss. I know the holy trinity of sorrow. Tears have travelled down my cheeks as they now journey down hers. I know what it is to be human, to love, to misjudge the character of another, to trust that a moment of time will last eternally and then it doesn't.
I wanted to embrace her. I wanted to fold her into my arms and tell her it would be OK. I wanted to whisper words of assurance into her ears. I wanted her to feel my heart beat as she lay her head on my chest, I wanted her to know that there was still life, and warmth, and love in the world for her. I wanted to do something deep. I wanted to act in a way with profound meaning.
But I didn't. We humans don't behave that way. We care, at a distance. We step around pain and give it privacy. I am one who believes in boundaries. I am one who believes that people are safer when space is respected. I am one who holds to the principles of privacy.
However, I only believe these things because the world is dangerous. Touch has the power to heal but it also has power to hurt. Mistrust makes sense in a world of wild unpredictability.
But I wish it weren't so.
I wish I could have stopped and embraced her, held her as she cried, let her feel truly safe in my arms.
I wish I could have done something, anything.
Other than simply drive by.