I saw her as I was coming out of my local SuperStore. She was standing in the glassed-in middle bay area; standing in the vast atrium space where they keep the shopping carts and weekly specials. She was pretending to be waiting for someone – nervously looking outside whenever anyone looked her way; scanning the parking lot as if she was waiting for her ride.
I immediately thought of a broken-winged bird I had once cornered at the farm as a boy. I wanted to help – frozen by my own incompetence. It was as if she had no where else to go. So she just stood there. Quietly trembling.
I was overcome by that same emotion I had when I watched a “property developer” buy the house next to ours, and one morning this spring have men come in and cut down all the massive old trees in their backyard – in order to make way for a new commercial parking lot. Hit by that slap of nausea. Overwhelmingly sad.
But the moment is soon lost in the unexpected wave of a smiling neighbour, and the honk of a horn.
By the time I walk home, I don’t even mention her to my girlfriend. I’m no longer sure, even, if I ever saw her.