I drove by as she sat on the boulevard. Her head hung like a Barbie’s when the neck’s been stretched by too many tugs to the hair. A cigarette hung from her lips as if gravity pulled it to her lap. Her torso slumped over her legs. They were crossed under her. She sat alone. Her thick eyebrows framed her face. “Wow, she’s stunning! She could be a model,” I thought. Although we’d never met, I instantly recognized her.
I drove by as she sat on the boulevard. I thought of her mother. I had dated her for a few months a few years ago. One day we stood in the middle of a snow slushed street and she casually told me, “I’m damaged.” She began her litany: two failed marriages and a teenaged daughter with more than a few problems. Our courtship was spent with us in defined and restricted roles: I was the sounding board and she was the sound. Her song was her daughter’s distress.
I drove by as she sat on the boulevard. She didn’t know me; she didn’t know of my existence. I know her intimate secrets. I shouldn’t know them. I have no right to have knowledge of her fears, failures, struggles, or sorrows. Her mother had no right to grant me – nearly a stranger – access to her child’s heart and soul. Her daughter’s despair is not hers to share.
I drove by as she sat on the boulevard. She didn’t know I know. She’ll never know I know. I’d never auction her secreted for affection or attention. I promised her a few moments after I drove by her as she sat on the boulevard.