Dec. 15th, 2007

About a week ago, a woman came through my line at Borders with platinum blonde hair, long lavender nails, and two deep purple bruises around her eyes.

And I said nothing, even though I assumed all the things I've been taught to assume--her husband's beating her, she's afraid for the kids, she's afraid for herself, some part of her believes he loves her. I treated her just like I would have treated any other customer, asked her whether she had her Borders Rewards card and whether she'd like a bag. Wished her a good day.

Maybe she really did fall down a flight of stairs. I hate making assumptions about people I don't know.

But maybe someone hit her and what she really wanted was for me to ask if everything was all right, if there was anything I could do. I know there have been times when I've sat on the Metro, lips tight, and wished someone would ask me if I was okay. And I've never had two black eyes, except when I opened a car door into my face when I was a kid. (I also fell going up stairs and left tooth marks in the wood floor at the top and closed my pinky in a door that year--it was not my most graceful period.)

Maybe everything was all right. Maybe she has some sort of weird skin disease that makes it look like she has two black eyes when she's really fine. Maybe. Maybe.

I will never know. I don't regret not asking her. It wasn't my place. But some fundamental human part of me wishes I had.

(Pudgeball kitten has decided that he loves All Things Shiny. His best friend at the moment is a crinkly foil Christmas ornament that he carries around with him and stashes in various places. Also: all of the tin foil has disappeared from the recycling and reappeared in corners around the apartment.)



May 2010


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