I am sitting in my car waiting for the light to change so I can turn right. It’s a long light and I have a short fuse, feeling irritable and impatient.
On the other corner a woman is waiting to cross the street, a middle-aged woman in tight jeans and a leather jacket. She brushes her hair back with a dramatic gesture that annoys me. Everything annoys me today.
“Relax, Karen,” I say as the light finally changes.
But instead of turning, I have to wait for the woman to saunter toward me across the street, taking her time, taking my time. The driver behind me honks and I consider a gesture of disrespect.
Finally the woman in jeans is right in front of my car and as she brushes her hair out of her face, I see that she is crying. I see that she is sobbing and suddenly my irritation vanishes. The woman steps up onto the curb as I steer my car around the corner. She is gone from view but her weeping face is all I can see.
I wonder what is wrong and wish I could help and know I cannot. But I will remember her, the way she walked toward me when the light changed—and I changed.