She’s crying on the train platform next to the trash can. There’s a morning crowd of silent commuters. She’s talking loudly into her cell phone. I think that the person she is talking to is a good friend who can listen well.
She is telling her friend that she is not supported by the man she lives with. In fact he is verbally abusive . He puts her down. She keeps crying and pacing near the trash can. She describes that she is developing behavior that is evolving from clutter to hoarding. She feels out of control but recognizes that she needs help before it gets worse. The man she is with doesn’t understand and is angry.
Then she gathers herself a little and tells her friend that she wants to go back to college and finish. She has a hope of bettering herself and her life. She begins to recount that she told her man about college. The reaction from him was once again negative and unsupportive. The tears and sniffles returned.
I stood with the commuters as their heads turned toward the arriving train. The woman with her back to the crowd now. We’ve all been in her shoes. I want to help so I try and think of something to do or say. I have my bag and look inside. I’m hoping for something magic to make it better or maybe I should quickly write a profound note that alters the course of her life. I find tissues as the train pulls up. I give her the whole pack. She says than you. Looks at me. Cleans up her face and throws the tissue in the can.
We all get on the train and I sit near her. She continues the loud, sad conversation. I put my headphones on and close my eyes.