“No, I’m ok,” she said.
I replied, “I’m able-bodied, and I’m right here.”
Within seconds, she was sobbing uncontrollably. The only words I understood were, “After 20 years of living here, I’ve been evicted.”
We did not speak during the next 30 minutes. We only lifted and shifted her belongings, none of which was properly packed, to the front of the building.
Old lamps, metal folding chairs and cleaning buckets, we moved as they were.
Toiletries, pots and pans were in flimsy plastic bags.
Everything else was tossed into boxes so old and worn I was afraid the bottoms would fall out. I desperately wanted to ask if she had a place to go or someone to help her.
I didn’t ask, because I did not want to hear her say, “No, nowhere and no one.” Then what would I do?
When we were done she said thank you. She told me she was going to wait for a friend to pick her up. I was relieved.
It was right about that time that I felt as if I were in the midst of a tragic comedy.
I have to preface this by explaining that this woman had been wearing a wig that caught my attention from the instant I saw her, because it was just so…over-the-top-wrong.
She grabbed a tissue to blow her nose.
As she did so her wig, which was perplexing to me from the beginning, flew off her head and onto the ground.
I wanted to laugh out loud, but I knew better. So I laughed on the inside – a lot.
Without changing her expression or tone, she gently reached for the wig and plopped it back on her head.
At that moment, I appreciated her vulnerability. I liked that she didn’t apologize for being a mess – like the way some people do when you get in their car and they say, “sorry for the mess.”
She was honest and vulnerable. There was no pretense, small talk, nor excuses.
She didn’t try to make me feel better about her life.
I no longer had the energy to run, so I walked home.
And as I did, I was struck by how tempting it is to want to help others, to solve their problems and to put their lives together for them.
But to do so, is to use our definition of what’s good, right, organized, together and acceptable.
We can only stop along the way and help them rearrange, relocate and sometimes reevaluate their choices.
Please, Tweet or Share. Thanks. Yours in love and dance, Laurie