November 14, 2006

Glimpse

Because I had the early morning time slot for my presentation at the conference, I got up as soon as it was light on Saturday, showered before any of my roommates were even awake, and went off by myself to find breakfast. I had had only about three hours of sleep, but the cool breeze against my wet hair woke me up as I walked down the streets of the city, which seemed quiet compared to the night before. All the crowds of people, who had been clustered around the doorways of bars and restaurants, drinking and talking and laughing, were gone.

In front of one restaurant, a young man was sweeping the sidewalk with a broom, and pulling out a wooden sign with hand lettering. Farther down the street, an older man was setting up racks of colorful scarves that twisted and glittered in the morning sunshine. Two women were lugging crates of fruit out to the front of a little store, arranging the bright oranges and green apples into tempting displays. In the bright morning sun, the sidewalks were a shifting mosaic of dead leaves, assorted trash, and crumpled advertisements. The smell of coffee and frying began wafting out of open doorways as some places opened for breakfast.

As I stopped for a moment to check my map, I noticed a lone figure coming down the sidewalk toward me. She was a slim young woman, about my daughter's age, I'd say, still wearing her Friday night evening-on-the-town clothes, a tight black skirt and a lowcut silk shirt. Her gorgeous silky black hair blew into her face as she moved along the sidewalk. Her posture, the way she carried herself, with her head hanging down and her shoulders hunched, seemed all wrong for someone so beautiful. As she came hurrying past me, she looked up for a moment, and I caught a glimpse of her face.

She was crying.

14 comments:

zelda1 said...

Poor baby. I hate to see women suffer. It's enough that we have to put up with so much in a male dominated world, but to have to cry the next morning. I hope she is okay.

Yankee, Transferred said...

Myself, I blame the patriarchy.
This is a beautiful post, jo(e).

Anonymous said...

Whoever made her cry should be smacked upside the head.

Arbitrista (formerly Publius) said...

I hate to say it, but I think Brazen is right: men suck.

ccw said...

I agree with liz, someone should be smacked upside the head.

kathy a said...

i'm with YT, this is a beautiful post.

sometimes i've been known to approach strangers who are in tears, especially younger women, but not always. stupid, eh? it has never amounted to anything more than a "somebody cares about you" from the universe. but who knows, i've gotten a few "somebody cares" messages that made a difference, one time or another.

Chip said...

has anyone ever told you that you should be a writer?? :-)

Anonymous said...

Such an intimate glimpse in a place where it's so easy to hide. Beautiful....

listmaker said...

Poor thing. Witnessing things like that always brings out the mom in me; I want to make everything all better.

BeachMama said...

Such a beautiful but sad story.

Anonymous said...

It's hard to see people we know crying, but harder in some ways to see strangers cry because we feel so ineffective...

beautiful post!

cloudscome said...

Have you ever written haiku? I think you could do it beautifully.

Anonymous said...

How sad. I think I would have invited her to coffee...or else I would have been sad for her the entire day.

You write beautifully, jo(e). I've never been to the City Like No Other, but I feel like I have from the pictures you paint with your words.

Anonymous said...

I love your writing! I live in City Like No Other, but through your eyes I can see the things I normally skim over because I've become used to them. It's refreshing to notice the little things!