Whenever I see anyone cry, I stop. I can’t help it. A person in that much apparent distress deserves a kind word.
Today was a hard one for me. It began being the twenty-first anniversary of my friend Bill’s passing which is what I blamed my melancholia on.
But there was another source of sadness to salt the mix…someone I love is taking their love away and there’s very little I can do about it.
Since my hearing loss, I’ve grown used to losing friends, but this hurts much more than the others because it’s been gradual, and sadly I can see it coming to its final end.
Between the two, I couldn’t shake my gloom so I thought of the only being on the planet who could make me smile.
Carmela the basset hound.
So I dressed in 10 layers and took off to Brooklyn.
There’s always the initial instant when she first sees me that even my broken heart has no say in, involuntarily lifting by its wounded ventricles.
And even though she licked my face and sat on my lap like Jerry Mahoney, I still left sad.
On the train coming home I sat very still never feeling more alone, when three women got on at 14th Street. Two fat African Americans in Addidas sweatsuits, and one tiny Latino lady with deep crevasses beneath her eyes.
She looked like an old, retired owl with shopping bags.
One black woman was singing with her iPod moving her arms like a Pointer Sister, the other, reading Valley of the Dolls. Yes, even in my despair I noticed.
When I got up the car was packed pushing me near the singing woman inspiring me to say quite genuinely,”It’s nice to be so happy.”
“I try my best,” she said, and don’t ask me why, but the tears I held back all day gushed moving all three women to comfort me.
The one reading put her hand on my shoulder while the woman singing said, “Don’t cry honey…please don’t cry.”
But who really got me was the wise old owl who said what I always say almost verbatim to whomever I encounter weeping…
“It will be alright…I promise…because all things pass.”
When I got off the train I turned, and there they were like angels without wings waving sweetly from the window.
I wasn’t any less sad, but knew I’d be alright leaning on the kindness of strangers.