We saw you at the stop light, and Lexington’s afternoon traffic being what it is, kept pace alongside you for the next two miles. You cried the whole time. Not big heavy tears, but the steady sobbing of someone with nothing left inside.
It’s hard, these moments of human disconnection, when you can clearly see someone in despair, but can’t do anything about it except send up a quick prayer. I don’t know your name, but asking God to comfort “the lady with the blond pageboy in the silver Honda thing” was probably specific enough.
My husband said he hoped your crying was to do with the fender on the front of your car, which looked recently and only slightly crumpled, but he also thought what I did–that you looked as though you’d been weeping for a considerable amount of time. If you’ve lost something–a loved one, a marriage, a job–we hope you find solace as and when you can.
There isn’t much any of us can do in those moments when we’re caught in the cross-hairs of each other’s sight lines, when we see something we know we ought not to be seeing, but at the same time we can’t look away–not so much from voyeurism as the common instinct to comfort a fellow human in need.
In part we wanted to make you happier because we ourselves were so happy: four friends in a car, Jack and me with our Frankfort pals Charles and Mary, Mary and I both newly published authors with books doing well in the charts, on our way to give a signing and book talk at the massive and gorgeous Joseph Beth Bookstore in Lexington Green Mall–a place in which new authors dream of being allowed to sign.
We couldn’t do anything for you, and you never looked ’round. Likely the grief was too deep for you to care that you were being watched. If we had done as Jack suggested and hopped out to knock on your window, ask if you were okay, we probably would have scared the shit out of you. We didn’t want that.
So we left you, crying in your driver’s seat in the madness of the 5:30 Lexington traffic, surrounded by humans encased in steel, and you so utterly alone. We’re sorry, and we hope whatever it is passes quickly.
Sometimes, that’s the best we can do for each other, isn’t it?