She came to me in the dead of winter, emerging like an angel in the fog on this freezing February morning. I was on a walk in the park, lost in my own little world, as she crashed into me. Our eyes locked, an unguarded moment, revealing pain buried deep behind the mascara of her pearl black eyes. She was so pale, dressed in black from head to toe, in perfect contrast to her skin or perhaps it matched her mood within. She forced a smile, as if it took every ounce of her energy to do so. It seemed a while, a long while, since her last smile. She was delicate, so fragile, shellshocked, perhaps escaping from tragedy, heartache or past lives I could not imagine.
Our eyes froze in time, maybe from the frigid cold, or just two lost souls searching for connection. Where were the words, what were the right words, to make this all feel casual and normal. Our silence the loudest sound. She asked me for a light. I reached for my pockets, as if I could magically produce a lighter. She stopped me, cold hand tenderly touching my arm. I don’t smoke, she confessed. Neither do I (I just so desperately wanted to bring light into her dark world). We laughed, cautiously, clumsily, the ice broken on this chilly morning.
We walked in silence, a nearby cafe. Her hands, her tiny fingers desperately wrapped around the warm mug to stop from shaking. Her gaze often wandered out the window, dreams of distant faraway places. Drops would flow down her cheek. Are you crying? It’s just the rain, she said, wiping the tears from her face. She spoke in riddle and rhyme: the world is full of noise, my mind so many voices, so tired so very tired, far too many choices.
I tried to understand, to enter her world, to swim in the same deep waters, to feel what she was feeling, to see what she was seeing. It was too dark and I too inept as I stumbled, fumbled and fell. There was no light. No air, no oxygen in her world, hard to breathe. Let me in, allow me to enter, but there was no sign, no signal. No door or path she would offer. She had fallen too far, too fast and now too numb. Sinking in a downward spiral of despair, drowning in darkness.
I knew she would move on, angels never stay long. She would float into the fog, disappear, pass through a distant part of my memory, until I could no longer remember her face, her voice, even her name.