She Sits So Still


She Sits So Still

An amazing lady. Too bad she can’t see what I do. (11/2006)

She sits so still, so peacefully. Her eyes appear to gaze down at the floor, at nothing. But the dog curled up at her feet with a harness around his shoulders tells the story: she’s not gazing at anything.

Her brown hair is pulled back gently, not harshly. It’s the right choice even though she may not know it: it reveals her face. She is beautiful. Her skin is just slightly rosy, perhaps from the crisp autumn air. Her lips are soft-looking, with just a hint of understated lipstick. How is she able to put lipstick on? Her eyes, when she shows them are heartbreaking.

She takes out a cell phone and caresses it, feeling along for the buttons. Someone has called her—the person for whom she’s waiting? How did she get here alone, anyway?

A man walks up, asks to pet her dog. She agrees with a smile. Her smile is radiant. I lean over to capture as much of it as I can. It dims quickly after the man leaves, as she resumes her position gazing down at the floor. How terrible it must be to live that way. And yet, she doesn’t seem like her blindness has overwhelmed her. It does not appear that she’s given up. She pets her dog lovingly; she’s dressed in comfortable clothes that are casually stylish; she seems, well, happy. How is this possible?

Her friend arrived and her smile returns. This time it stays for a while. Her friend guides her to the line to get coffee. Her guide dog follows along closely. Except for her hand gently touching the top of her friend’s purse, she looks like anyone else. That, and the slightly tentative way she moves forward in the line. How terrible it must be to worry about the few inches in front of you every minute.

But the two women talk, chatting about whatever, this and that. She’s got a friend, and I suspect many more. She is not someone who needs sympathy. For all I know her life has more joy than most, than mine.

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