Monday, June 2, 2008

Suburbia can be a lonely place

My wife and I were sitting on our front porch last night having a little bit of ice cream and just enjoying the late afternoon sun dancing among the trees and flowers. I made a comment about how there were two of our neighbors that I'm not sure I've ever seen, even though we've lived a few hundred feet from for the past three years. I often wonder about all the people who I know must live in the houses near me, but I just never see outside.

This morning, I was checking email and such with my coffee when I heard what I thought was a child crying out in front. I thought it was weird, since school is still in session. I waited a few minutes, but the crying persisted, so I got up, coffee in hand, and walked outside. The crying persisted, wailing in a strange way. Not like an injured child sort of way, more like a cry that just doesn't want to stop. I couldn't see exactly where this person was, so I walked down the driveway past the trees that were blocking my view.

There, in the middle of the street, sitting on her bottom with her legs straight out in front of her, was an asian woman, perhaps 40 years old, just bawling. She continued to cry as I walked towards her with a slight smile on my face. As I got closer, she quit crying and stood up. I asked "are you hurt?" at which she lunged her face at me and screamed, sort of an angry bark, and walked past me down the street. I stood there in the middle of the street, watching her walk down the middle of the street and I looked around to see if any of my neighbors were poking their heads out to see what was going on. Nope. No one noticed.

The woman walked down past my house and again sat down again in the middle of the street. I decided that she had made it clear that she didn't want my help, so I went inside to grab a phone and get the number for the police, in case there was something seriously wrong that they might be able to help with. I walked out to see if she was still there, but she was gone, so I didn't call.

I don't know who this woman was. I don't know what was wrong. I don't know why she was crying, or why she screamed at me when I was offering help. All I know is that this woman must've felt very alone. Suburbia can be a lonely place.

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