Saturday, August 16, 2008
She haunts me still.
As she dozed on the crowded city bus, draped on the bench atop her plastic bags, mismatched luggage - all of her belongings - I snapped her picture. Trying not to stare her awake, I looked away. Her imprint in my mind morphed into a PIETA - a bag-lady-crucified-Christ, the blue vinyl of the bus seat the Holy Mother holding her. Something about her made me think of peace.
She must have been a "regular" on the route, for when the driver braked, he indicated it was her stop and asked that her fellow passengers awaken her. No one moved, though everyone heard, and since I knew their paralysis was unique to Minnesota and incurable, I stepped up. Shaking her shoulder gently and saying, "Excuse me, Ma'am?" in a clear loud voice, I tried to rouse her. The skin of her face was paper thin and paper white - complicated lines of weather and time flashed a sweet smile as her dream ended and her eyes opened. I explained we had arrived at her stop and helped her gather her life's luggage and disembark.
She haunts me still. Did I do a good thing by helping her get where she was going? Or was my action an assault? An interruption of the temporary peace that her passing dream-time had provided; a minute's paradise in a life I doubt she'd ever dreamed would be hers.