It’s not my intention to objectify her here, to make her out as some sort of cheap sideshow attraction. I saw her as a unique person, and from the moment she sat down she was more real to me than anyone else in that room. My heart hurt for her. I wondered what her story was, what happened to cause the burden she bore. What was her life like? What were her hopes? I could well imagine her fears. Though I’m sure she would have met my pity with resentment had she known how I felt, I still couldn’t help feeling it. She seemed like such a tragic figure. And what is pity anyway, but a sad kind of love?
I understand I’m probably sentimentalizing her. After all, I don’t know her. I might not even like her if I met her.
But somehow I doubt it.
As a writer I always people watch (some might call it eavesdropping), filing things away—mannerisms, quirks, whatever—for later. Sometimes someone jumps out at me in Technicolor, demanding to be seen, to be considered. To be remembered.
She will probably wind up in some future story of mine, and I only hope I can treat her with the respect and dignity she deserves while I try to understand her. And in the process, maybe come a little closer to understanding the rest of us.
Because I’m a writer, and it’s what I do.