what if…

Author: angiem, 05 14th, 2009

I saw the saddest thing today while out to coffee with my husband, and it truly broke my heart. There is this woman in my neighborhood, elegant, refined, of a certain age and she was at the coffee shop too, yet instead of coffee she was drinking first a glass of wine and then a beer, all the while crying silently and looking out the window. I didn’t know what to do. My instinct was to go and wrap my arms around her shoulders, my common sense said to ignore it. And so I did nothing. I told myself I was sparing her dignity a blow. But was I really? In hindsight I realize I should have reached out. One human to another. One woman to another.

I can’t help but feel ashamed of myself for failing at such a simple human response. I pride myself on my compassion, but where is it when it’s really needed? It’s a cowardly sort of compassion at best. Hiding behind ‘what ifs.’ The real reason I didn’t go was because I didn’t want to embarrass myself were she to turn on me and tell me to mind my own business. It was my pride that didn’t want to risk a blow. You see, I frequent that coffee shop daily. I have a certain image to uphold. I’m the woman with the cute kids that always orders the same thing and tips well. I don’t make conversation other than with my kids and the people behind the counter. I smile and nod at the other regulars, but it’s a tight-lipped sort of smile meant to discourage any attempt at starting a conversation.

When had I become such a snob? Why am I bent on portraying myself in a certain false light that has nothing to do with the real me? With what I really feel inside? I have all these pretentions, all this contempt for superficiality, yet I myself am a very superficial person.

That’s it for today. The more I think about it, the more ashamed I am of my spineless reaction. I pray that woman is all right. I don’t know where she lives, but I am going to that coffee shop tomorrow and if I see her, I will go and say hello and ask if I may join her while I drink my coffee.


2 Responses to “what if…”

  1. ella herman Says:

    Well, did you see her again?

  2. Ani Says:

    Although it is an uncomfortable feeling, I think it would’ve been totally appropriate for you to ask to join her while you drink your coffee. That would’ve been a way to open a dialog with the poor lady…

    Most of the time, I think we overlook situations like this because of our busy schedules… go go go… non stop. We don’t have time to stop and sit and listen and help if possible… We’re always on the go as mothers, wives, entrepreneurs, and on and on…

    Many times, I pray that we can slow down the constant fast pace of life and pay more attention to the “teary” lady sipping away her problems.

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