Monday, July 4, 2011

Have You Ever...?

 Watched someone cry in public?

Not just glanced and looked away in embarrassment, both for them and for you... but actually watched them. I have... 

I was on the train, coming home from Dublin. Sitting in a seat by the window, my mp3 player for company, happy at the thoughts of zoning out for an hour or two.  The seats were starting to fill up and I knew that I would definitely have someone sitting across from me, and probably someone beside me too. I hate having people sitting beside me on the train from Dublin - for some reason people think that they have to make small talk because you're traveling down the country so I made sure that my headphones were visible and turned away to look out the window.

After a few minutes someone sat in the seat across from me, not diagonally but directly across from me, I paid little attention and continued to stare lazily out the window. As the train pulled out from the station I gave a little internal sigh of relief that no one was occupying the seat beside me and straightened myself up a little. It was at this stage that I actually noticed the woman in the seat in front of me. In her late twenties, maybe early thirties, fairly pretty, dark hair, and tears running down her face.

So I looked away, as you do when you see someone crying in public. It felt like I was intruding on her personal space, but I glanced back at her a few seconds later to see if she really was crying. Yup, two puffy eyes and a river of tears were clear to see on her face, no sobbing though. She didn't seem to notice me looking so I didn't look away. So I watched her, for about five minutes. Her tears never stopped, never lessened. After those five minutes I felt a little bad for intruding on such a personal moment without even acknowledging it so I reached into my bag and found a small pack of tissues. I left the tissues down on the table and slowly pushed them over to her and the only thing I could think to say was 'If you want someone to talk to...'  

She shook her head, took a tissue and turned to stare out the window, just like I had done earlier. I'm smart enough to take a hint. She cried the whole way from Dublin to Thurles. The whole way.

Have you ever watched someone cry? In public? How did you react?

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