The Woman with a Hat

by crobertson

I’m not usually a “people watcher.”  Not usually being the key words here.  Today as I sit in the Target cafeteria, I am.  It’s busy.  People, sounds and conversation encompass me.  “DadaadaDA!”  Smiling I look over to Braeden.  My eyes are glued.  Too glued.  I look around at all the registers so I am not discovered starring, but they’re glued and return.

My eyes focus in on her.  Taking notice to the blue scarf on her head.  Wrapped around, bundled in the back.  The paleness of her skin which contrasts with the bright colors in her clothes.  Her top is a v-neck, lacy and beautiful.  A scar.  Dark purple from the top of her chest and beyond where my eyes can no longer follow.

I zoom out, looking at everything around her.  Her shopping cart is filled.  Overflowing filled.  She grabs piles of clothes, putting them on the conveyor belt.  Children’s clothes, boys, girls.  Toys.  Snacks.  Food.  Beauty supplies.  More clothes.  As she’s placing piles on the belt, the clerk seems to be greeting her and having a conversation.  She is smiling, even laughing.  I don’t see any bitterness.  I see a woman that is happy, at peace, content.

I zoom out further to where I sit.  I think.  “Does she have cancer?”  “Has she beat cancer?”  “Is she a grandmother?”  Why all the clothes…2 or 3 of the same outfit?”  “Is she buying for sick children or to donate?”  My eyes widen, welling up.  She’s alone.  Alone!  “Should I offer to help her?”  “Will she look at me puzzled or offended?”  “If I offer help, will she feel like she appears to be sick?”  “Will she feel bad rather than better?”  I rationalize, continuing to talk to myself.  “It doesn’t seem like she would be offended.”  “She could just say no.”  “What should I do?”  Looking at Braeden, the guilt begins to burn inside me.  I swallow.  It doesn’t go down easily.  I do nothing.  NOTHING!

Weeks later.  I sit, fingers hovering the keys.  It has taken time to write of this event.  In describing myself I would say…helpful, kind, considerate.  That day, I was none of those things.  I let my doubt, my insecurities and my shyness interfere with what was in my heart.  With what was the right thing to do.  Never again!  I have read peers and students “One Little Word” pieces.  I didn’t plan on writing about this, but as I’ve read from others…it found me.  Do.  I will do what is in my heart, what is right regardless of the nonsense that plays out in my head.  If it is coming from the heart, from a good place, there should be no doubt, insecurity, shyness….nothing to stop me.  I will do!



The Process: