I think I have decided on my next writer’s challenge. This one is called “Bearing Witness”, and the assignment is to write about a time when you saw something unexpected. This can be in any format; poetry, prose, short story, essay – whatever. I’m going to try to keep mine short; I’m thinking I’ll do moments in time that revealed something interesting or unusual. Like one time, when I was in Paris, I was on the subway, trying to look native and bored. We roared through a tunnel and screaked** to a stop, where I was to exit. You don’t have too much time to get your stuff together on the Metro before the doors open and then close again, and if you miss your window of opportunity, that’s how the train rolls. I was watching as the car pulled into the station. Up ahead in the crowd of people, a lady in a black coat and a purple scarf caught my eye. She was facing a handsome man who was holding both of her hands in his. They looked like they were about to kiss. The train stopped right in front of them and the doors slid open. All of a sudden, the woman yanked her hands from the man’s as if they were burning her, and she burst into tears. She turned on her heel and I saw her face and she saw me. Such pain! Her heart was breaking. She seemed naked, but not so much in a hot way. So angry,and fierce, but also vulnerable, puny na d frightened. It was all so raw and powerful. Tears welled in my own eyes. I put my hands on the window. The man came after her, worried, shaken. “Sylvie, please!” The doors glided together. Her purple scarf fluttered in the whoosh of air the subway left in it’s wake. I missed my stop.
Sad, huh? I wonder what happened and how things turned out. The whole thing only took a few minutes, maybe just seconds, but I’ve never forgotten it. I have a million moments like this, though many are happier, some funny, some scary or poignant. A few seem to reveal great truths; others, meaningless but memorable. La vida del voyeur. Send me what you have witnessed, and I’ll post it. You can either email me or leave it in the comments section of this blog. Do it! How often do you get a chance to share one of life’s little pearls with perfect strangers***? Come on!
*Try reading this in the voice of Freddie “Boom Boom” Washington. Ah, sweet sweathog! You and Vinnie are never far from my heart…
** But it should be a word, right?!
*** And by “perfect strangers”, I mean me and my mom, as we are the only people who read this blog anyway, and she only does it when I guilt her into it.