I was having a bad day.
There’s a quote from the film, Body Heat, when Ned, played by Bill Hurt, says...sometimes the shit comes down so heavy, I feel like I should wear a hat.
It was one disappointment after another, never realizing, how hard it is to have a good mewl while wearing a mask.
I’m sitting on a bench in the Park midday, something I rarely do. I choose a place with no one close by, so I can take off my mask to sob in peace.
ENTER…12 year-old boy on bicycle.
He sits next to me, in his mask. So I naturally now, have to pull up mine.
He says, “Wouldn’t it be better to just leave it off? I saw you crying. It’s why I stopped.”
“That was nice of you,” I say, “but I’m really fine.”
“That’s what my mom always says, but I know she’s not.”
“What’s the matter with your mom?”
“She misses my dad.”
I pause, before asking, “What happened to him, did he leave?”
“Sorry, that happens sometimes. But at least you get to see him, right?”
He looks at me like a doctor about to give you a bad test result. “Well, no I don’t…see, he was real sick. Had cancer. He died in April.”
I sit there feeling now, even worse, because a young kid who lost his father, is trying to do for me, what he clearly can’t do for his mother.”
So alas, we bond.
“I lost my dad too,” I tell him, “when I was a little older than you. I didn’t get to see him. Were you with your dad?”
He solemnly shakes his head no. “They wouldn’t let us in the hospital, cause of the virus.”
Suddenly my woes pack their bags without even a wave, this kid’s stoicism showing them the door.
“My name’s Susannah. What’s yours?”
“Nice to know you Jake. I’m real glad you stopped.”
He shakes my hand and asks, “Want some gum?”
“Sure, I’d love some.”