She stood on the opposite street of the intersection where my van was idle. The morning, May sun was a spotlight on her fidgeting. She adjusted her khaki wide-legged culottes. I see the dirt stains, not yet filthy, the pants still retain a resemblance of their original glory — possibly J-Crew? The stains were not long term, yet. Her head, rotates from left to right waiting for a break in the rush-hour traffic. The cross walk is a few feet away, however, she attempts to dart between cars as they slow to a stop at the red light. As she fidgets and scans for a chance to cross, my eyes focus on her darting head. Her short hair cut, once chic, was outgrown and matted. The traffic slows and she moves across one lane, two lanes and then toward lane three, toward my minivan. I watch her quickened steps, oscillating head, and bobbing breasts under a crumpled linen shirt, cross the street. She was closer now, and I saw her face, brown with freckles on each cheek, her strong bridged nose narrowing into nostrils pleasantly width. Her lips are full and naturally lined dark. She was beautiful. Shockingly beautiful. As she moved closer to my driver’s side window, I saw abandon in her facial expression. She had no shame.
There was a paradox in the dusty remnants of her material possessions, her beauty, and the dark streets awakened by the morning drudgery of the working, the productive. My imagination wondered, “What happened?” “Why was she out there?” “How does someone so beautiful get here?” “When did she stop caring?” I imagine there was a time that J-Crew, fine cloth and well manicured hair could not bear the weight of her pain any longer. She was clothed in overwhelming suffering, suffering that could no longer be tamped down and suppressed. Perhaps the depression refused to be dressed up with a veneer of civility anymore. No, it propelled from under her outfit and rested comfortably on the surface so that all could see. So that she could not forget to feel it, so that we passersby would look and take notice of our dark places we still manage to deny and keep hidden.