Thursday, 30 August 2007
Drama in a Strip Mall Parking Lot
By kenju of Imagine What I'm Leaving Out
I was a witness to a small drama being played out in the parking lot near a fast-food restaurant recently.
As I sat in my car eating lunch, trying to read, a young couple caught my eye. There was only a hedge between us and though I tried not to pry, it was hard not to watch. A tall, willowy blond in the uniform of the restaurant was standing like a statue beside a car. An older guy standing close had apparently told her something that rocked her world. She stood stock still, the only movement her hair, as it blew in the wind, and the tears creeping down her cheeks.
He continued to speak, sometimes cautiously caressing her cheek to wipe the tears away. She stared not at him, but into the distance, as though she was trying to fathom what he was saying, to make some sense of it. They were there for about 15 minutes, when he said goodbye and got in his car. He drove off slowly, watching her for a reaction; then parked the car and walked back to her.
He started talking again, and she was still standing like a statue, not speaking or moving. I needed to leave, but they were so close I just couldn't start the car, and I confess to curiosity about what would happen next. Finally, he got in the car and drove away. She just stood there, still not moving, for about five minutes. I looked away for only a bit and when I looked back, she was gone.
This has crept into my mind many times since it happened. What had he told her? That he was breaking up with her? That he was married? That he was leaving her for another girl? So many scenarios danced through my mind, all of them evoking an empathy born of similar experience, of break-ups many years ago.
I wanted to go to that girl and hold her, tell her that it would be all right, that she would soon forget that guy and her life would eventually turn out to be everything she'd ever dreamed it could be. But I knew she would not have believed me, as I did not believe the friends who tried to tell me all those years ago.
Know this, young blond: he will become a distant memory; he will visit the recesses of your mind and be tolerated, if not welcomed. Because at some future point, you will forget the pain, and realize that this experience is part of who you have become and that without it, part of you would be missing.