Sunday, November 13, 2005

Drama in a strip mall parking lot

Paul, at http://writingfromthehip.blogspot.com

recently exhorted us to repost our favorite stories. Here is one of mine, and since I don't know how to provide a link to it, I am reposting it in full.



I was a witness to a small drama being played out in the parking lot near a fast-food restaurant recently. As I sat in my car eating lunch, trying to read, a young couple caught my eye. There was only a hedge between us and though I tried not to pry, it was hard not to watch. A tall, willowy blond in the uniform of the restaurant was standing like a statue beside a car. An older guy standing close had apparently told her something that rocked her world. She stood stock still, the only movement her hair, as it blew in the wind, and the tears creeping down her cheeks. He continued to speak, sometimes cautiously caressing her cheek to wipe the tears away. She stared not at him, but into the distance, as though she was trying to fathom what he was saying, to make some sense of it. They were there for about 15 minutes, when he said goodbye and got in his car. He drove off slowly, watching her for a reaction; then parked the car and walked back to her. He started talking again, and she was still standing like a statue, not speaking or moving. I needed to leave, but they were so close I just couldn't start the car, and I confess to curiosity about what would happen next. Finally, he got in the car and drove away. She just stood there, still not moving, for about five minutes. I looked away for only a bit and when I looked back, she was gone.
This has crept into my mind many times since it happened. What had he told her? That he was breaking up with her? That he was married? That he was leaving her for another girl? So many scenarios danced through my mind, all of them evoking an empathy born of similar experience, of break-ups many years ago. I wanted to go to that girl and hold her, tell her that it would be all right, that she would soon forget that guy and her life would eventually turn out to be everything she'd ever dreamed it could be. But I knew she would not have believed me, as I did not believe the friends who tried to tell me all those years ago. Know this, young blond: he will become a distant memory; he will visit the recesses of your mind and be tolerated, if not welcomed. Because at some future point, you will forget the pain, and realize that this experience is part of who you have become and that without it, part of you would be missing.

37 comments:

Mamacita said...

You are absolutely right. But before that can happen, she will probably relive that night a thousand times, using a different script, and wondering if it would have been any different if she'd said something else. . . . .

Angie said...

I am a people watcher. I wonder what people think when they watch me as well.

Tammy said...

Wonderful post.

Michele sent me today!

Dawn said...

lovely post! I am here via Michele but will be back

OldHorsetailSnake said...

It is devoutly to be wished that the blonde can read your story. Good one, Judge.

P.S. Maxine got her last name today.

brendalove@gmail.com said...

Great post.

And let us not forget to comment on the fact that the jerk chooses to tell her whatever it was while she was at work. Great M.O.....he only has to deal with it for as long as her break lasts.

the frog princess said...

I'm with angie. I watch people all the time, but I wonder what they think when they see me because I'm awfully animated when I speak :)
Michele sent me

Anonymous said...

I often make up stories about people I don't know when my husband and I are out in the car. Most of these stories are based on my own experiences and the experiences of others I have know quite well. I have always been fascinated by people and why they do the things they do, including why I do the things I do. Perhaps, this young lady was told that her baby's father was just killed in a war across the sea, a fear that many young ladies will see. The fact that she didn't lash out to him , that he wiped her tear, was there as long as he was tells me he could have been a father figure or an older brother.
Why didn't he wait until she got home? Perhaps he had the afternoon shift at another job?
But, the last thing you said, the advice part, was excellent given the information you had was all by
surmising the situation. Like so many have said recently...that which doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. I love your blog...what a great story. When ARE you going to write your book, sweetheart? I feel one coming on! Always, PBG

Pearl said...

Powerful moment.

Erin said...

Ooo! To be a fly on the wall. Whatever happened, she must have been devastated.

Here from Michele's. I've been watching your Collections too. Sorry I haven't commented, but I have enjoyed looking at them. Thank you for sharing!

Have a great weekend!

TrueJerseyGirl said...

What a great story - I wish you knew the ending! Michele sent me today!

OldOldLady Of The Hills said...

That's a very haunting story...There are so many things that he might have told her, but the mind and heart do go right to 'Break Up', don't they...

I think you would LOVE England Judy and think of the possible fans you might stumble upon!!! Oy my! (lol)

Pirate said...

good post. I wonder what had haooened if you had walked up to her and asked if everything was alright?

Sonia said...

What an intriguing story! Who knows the real story ... Our imaginations flow ....

Marie said...

Very interesting... You are so right.

It's always interesting to be an observer...

Michele sent me!

-xtessa- said...

hi kenju! michele sent me...

amazing post... to witness something so bittersweet. i wish we could all remember that the pain would pass someday while we are all immersed in it.

Captain Typho said...

Hi, visiting from Michele's.

The sad thing is, if she has kids with that guy, or if she was depending on him for half the rent money, she won't be forgetting him anytime soon.

Raehan said...

I sometimes even get nostaglic about that kind of hurt and longing....

But it's hard when it's happening.

poopie said...

Powerful story Judy. I know how the blonde felt *sigh* Been there done that ;)

Plumkrazzee said...

I could sit on a bench in the mall with a Coke, and watch for hours. It always makes me go home a little happier, with a little more self esteem, and with new respect for how human nature works. This has sparked a memory, and I think i'll blog about it later on today, thanks for the inspiration!

mar said...

What a story! Romance, hurt feelings, *sigh*. Via Michele's tonight, it is always delightful reading here

justrose said...

wow, a tremendous story and the moments that entire novels are written about.

Jamie Dawn said...

That scene would have left me wondering too. It might have been a break-up, but it could have been many other things as well. The possibilities...

utenzi said...

Michele sent me over to visit you, Judy. I just came back from your side of town this evening.

I can't imagine reacting like the young woman did unless there was a death involved. A breakup just wouldn't kill my spirit that way. Everyone reacts differently and you might be right about your analysis--but I see her reacting to the death of a close relative.

Carmi said...

I can see why this would rank among your favorites. You wrote it so descriptively and exquisitely. I could practically feel the tension as I read it.

Peter said...

Hi Judy, loved the post, as usual, don't miss a visit to plumkrazzee whatever you do.
Have you noticed the Polish people have abandoned the letter q lately?

Paul said...

Sorry I got here so late. Great, well-written story.

(But what if he was telling her of a tragedy that occurred in his family and that neither of his parents could come to their wedding next weekend after all.)

I'm flattered, by the way. It's interesting how this "Top-10" thing is growing legs. Thanks for jumping in.

srp said...

There are truths you learn that will put you in this state. Sometimes it's something you already know or suspect, but the stark truth in your face still hits like a ton of bricks. Wish you could tell her, it will be hard, it will take time, but this too shall pass.

Plumkrazzee said...

Hi again, Kenju, yes, please feel free to link..after all, you started it! =)

la la la I can't hear you said...

2 things:

Nice post.

And thanks for visiting Lam(b) today. :)

Weary Hag said...

You know, one time I did step up when I saw this sort of thing happen close by. After the young man was well out of sight, I tried to comfort the girl, just offering a tissue and a chat if she was up for it (the situation was a bit different though) ... she did accept the tissue, but she didn't accept the offer to chat.

I felt like I intruded just a bit, but was still glad to offer an 'ear' ... it's an awkward situation sometimes.

Mildred Garfield said...

Hi JUdy:

Great post! Reminded me of the movie I saw this weekend - ":Shopgirl." I think you would enjoy it. Maybe I shouldn't use the word enjoy because I found it disturbing but very well done.

It's about a very lonely single girl trying to live life in the big city. She looks at other couples, sees how happy they are and wishes she had what they have.

Millie

dena said...

Oh gosh, no wonder you chose this as a story to share again. I just loved reading it, and could certainly picture the girl. Even remembered when I was that girl, and my heart had been broken to the point of thinking it couldn't be repaired. But we all mend. I've also been witness to the same sort of scenario, and wondered silently if I should offer some sort of help or friendship to the person. You never know how people would react. But thinking back on when it was me, and I was a young girl with a broken heart and feeling alone, the kindness of a complete stranger might be more welcome than the advice of someone that really knows you.

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