Thursday, February 4, 2010

Don't just do something; stand there

My dearest Nora, wherever thou mayst roam,

Not once, but several times yesterday did I see rather lovely young ladies on campus with that characteristic redness around their eyes. Some of them still had some tears dribbling down.

The first girl I saw was coming out of one of the buildings in which courses for the nursing program are conducted. Dirty blonde hair, greyish-coloured eyes only enhanced by the irritation surrounding. Striking. Arresting. Had the circumstances been any other, I would have offered a smile. Instead, a sheepish, hopeful look so as to indicate, "I'm sorry!"

The next two I saw were a pair, near to the campus bookstore. It was not clear if they knew each other, but were walking side-by-side in somewhat close proximity...a perfectly ordinary occurrence, though. I just remember one of them. She was wearing a pea coat, had light brown hair with a little bit of curl to it. Remarkably, her eye colour escapes me. That's usually what I first notice.

The last young lady in some sort of distress was on the only-slightly chunky side, had wavy dark brown hair, and green-ish coloured eyes. They were sort of pale, but intense. Reminded me of some sort of gem stone. She was walking towards one of the main nursing program buildings.

For each of these women, several possibilities occurred to me. Girl 1, I thought, might've just failed a test or been chewed out by one of the administrators of the nursing program. Word on the street is that some of them can be downright nasty, but we never know how much exaggeration and transference of personal issues go into such descriptions.

The pair of women presented a challenge. Nothing was obvious about what their situation could be, given their location on campus and relative freshness of their crying eyes. After a few minutes, I wondered if this was related to the first case I saw. Perhaps someone they were close to died. It doesn't make me feel good to admit it, but I imagined that it was probably some guy (a member of one of the many notoriously party-oriented frats) who'd made a careless decision at the heights of some inebriated state. A few people I knew from high school back home have injured themselves (some to the point of death), or others, in automobiles after having imbibed. Thus you can see my jump to that conclusion.

The last girl did not have the lost look of a person who had someone of close relation just pass on. She almost had a slightly upbeat and confident air, despite her otherwise downtrodden appearance. Maybe she'd just gone through a difficult break-up, one that had needed to happen long ago and only now she'd found the courage. Go on, then, sister!

In each of these cases, my immediate reaction to the sadness of these people was alarm. Just as quickly as that set in, an extreme desire to console and sit, for hours on end if necessary, and listen to them took over me. I found myself wanting to shed some tears right alongside them, despite not having a thing in the world to feel sad about...besides the sadness of these four women.

As I was making my way to the bus stop at the end of my day, one section of sidewalk outside of a particular dorm had been closed off. A police car was parked upon it, and a firetruck was fast approaching. Foot traffic was diverted. Suddenly, I thought again of the four women and wondered if something had happened to someone they knew. Couldn't be, though, because this was hours after first encountering the first girl.

Oh, no.

A terrible thought emerged.

Still, at this point, I don't know what the circumstances were. I desperately hope that what I had imagined is the furthest thing from actuality.

May the grace of He keep you always,

J.O. Morris

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