A moment at the park

I was moping in the park a few days ago, overcome by sadness out in the open this time, hoping no one would notice, when a young woman I know walked by. Actually, I don’t know her so much as recognize her, except she cared for Janice near the end, which says something to me. The other thing about her is that seeing her always cheers me up. Janice loved her energy, her presence. Whenever I see her, I think, “God is good.” She’s quite extraordinary. I wish I had a son for her. She could have one.

My eyes were closed behind my shades when I heard her greeting and saw through my tears who it was. I wanted nothing so much as to stop her, to ask her to sit with me for a minute. I wouldn’t have expected her to say anything necessarily. I was just feeling lowdown and missing my wife, not snapping out of it like I figured at all and feeling vulnerable and useless. Until recently if I felt like that I’d’ve retreated to my cave and drugged or otherwise disabled such a thought. Nowadays, like George Costanza in Seinfeld, I’m trying to break all my habits by doing what feels the most foreign, like asking this young woman for solace.

I didn’t, though. She zipped by before I managed to respond. I’d berated myself briefly for missing my chance when I decided to will her to turn around and come back, send out signals or vibrations or something that would bring her back. “Come back, come back,” I thought. “Come back,” but she didn’t. I sat there on my bench as long as I had to and then rode away home.

That evening I got an email from her. She mentioned seeing me on my bench and wrote, “But right after I said hello in a chipper way and kept on walking, part of me suddenly wanted to turn around and go and sit beside you. I replayed the scene in my mind a few times . . . of how it would disrupt you, or how you’d ask to be alone, and I also played the scene where I simply sat there and we sat there, and not much even needed to be said . . . I’m a bit sad that I didn’t stop and share this with you in person today . . . Next time I will.”

I was sad she hadn’t stopped to be with me, too, at first. On the other hand I have nonphysically communicated thought to another unique expression of all that is. And next time, she’ll stop.