this afternoon…

She wore a purple dress, paisley patterned, slightly hanging off her right shoulder. The wheel chair held her in place and helped her rest her bandaged leg, her black sandals nestled on the footrests. She lit a thin brown cigar, wedged between her lips steadied by burgundy chipped nail polished fingers. I could hear her suck in deep and loudly exhale, the smoke billowing away in the wind. He called her Felicia as the breeze caught her hair; sunlight fell onto her mocha skin. She seemed agitated. Smoking with desperation, quick, like she only had mere seconds to spare. His voice was clear and carried far, the tone full of frustration. He was upset. Saying to her she needed to get checked into the hospital. Smoking was not going to resolve her situation. He spoke of how he was worried for her. Worried about her health, physically and mentally. Especially for what she tried to do on the bus…

(She took a lanyard she carried with her and wound it tight around her neck, cutting off her air way, choking herself, passing out…)

My breath caught when I heard those words. Yet, there she was, seemingly  unfazed, numb perhaps, just puffing away, sucking on her cigar, then lighting a cigarette after the cigar was at its end. Had I not heard his words, it would have been quite an ordinary scene. The passing by of strangers. But my heart cinched. I wanted to take her hand and squeeze it. To let her know that someone understood her. That there, in a few minutes of time, underneath the sun and touch by the gentle breeze, her pain was not unheard. Even if for a brief moment, I wanted her to know she didn’t have to breathe alone in pain…

I started to get out of my car to walk towards her but she turned her chair and started to wheeled herself to the ER entrance. He was walking behind to help her. My hand reached out as if to say something my voice couldn’t…


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