notes from the commute

I'll tell you this story because the boys weren't particularly intrigued with it over dinner (a taco/lasagna thing) last night.

I was walking from the train to the car. It was one of those evenings where there is just a little light left and you could tell it was warmer just an hour earlier.
I walk at a brisk pace and dodge around people who are slower - especially if I am listening to music. (I kid myself that this is my exercise for the day. It's about half a mile, I think.)
Anyway, I was walking, briskly, to my car when I spotted a woman walking with a stroller in front of me. She was walking pretty quickly too.
This is what I saw:
the baby was well bundled, probably only about a month old
the mom had clearly made an effort to look "dressed"
she was young, about 30
she clearly looked exhausted
the stroller was fancy and new
I took this in and thought a bit. The first warm day. She was probably sick of being stuck inside, alone, I reasoned, with a new baby, and decided to go for a walk. Maybe the baby is a screamer. She's probably not getting a lot of sleep. Her clothes looked a little tight here and there, but she had pretty, shiny, long blond hair and some lip gloss.
Why the hurry though?
She seemed near panic.
I turned down the iPod...the baby was sleeping quietly.
I scanned her face as she moved to the other side of the street (though, I SWEAR, I was not stalker-ish AT ALL).
As she crossed the street I looked down - and that's when I saw her shoes.
She was wearing black leggings and no socks and gorgeous brown suede driving socks...that was the problem.
Blood was dripping from the backs of her ankles to the tops of the shoes - it looked like she had gotten terrible blisters and had rubbed them raw and was bleeding.
Just as I noticed it, she bent to re-adjust the shoes and I tried, from across the street to catch her eye.
I thought, somehow, I'd ask her if she'd like a ride home. I was sure we could get the stroller in the back of my Jeep and she had to live nearby - she could just hold the baby for a few minutes in the back seat.
She didn't see me. I waited, but she walked on looking slightly more miserable.
I figured I'd get the car and pull it around to the street she was walking along - I could pull over and roll down the window and...(and yes, it did occur to me that she might be nervous, that I was crossing a line - but her feet looked so awful).
I got the car, tore through the lot and out onto the street...

and I had lost her.
I don't know what street she walked to and there was no way to start driving around looking for her as that WOULD have been kind of stalker-ish.
She haunted me for about a half an hour. After that the usual evening activities took me over.
But I thought about her again this morning.


She was probably trying desperately not to cry. Now I'm crying.

You have a big heart.
Anonymous said…
You are so observant and so nice. I would want to do the same thing and hope that the person wouldn't think I was a whacko!
Anonymous said…
I know she would have been so happy to accept a ride from a stranger for once in her life. Blister pain can make a girl do crazy things.

You are a good person. But don't fret. By now she has bandaids and some Tylenol.

Anonymous said…
Oh man, I've had those same intentions. I figure divine intervention helps them come about--like the time I took the boys to town to drop Mr. T at karate and I saw the Hispanic woman walking along the highway on a HOT summer afternoon. I thought, If she's still there on my return trip, I'm pulling over. She was. I did. She had over 4 miles still to go.
I bet your girl was almost home and got there before you could reach her.
Stephanie said…
That is so sad. :( She probably got home, had herself a good cry and hopefully got a bit of sleep. Life is tough the littlest of ways.
Anonymous said…
My sweet, darling Bb.
That One said…
You've got a generous soul, bb. If I ever have blisters like that, I'm going to pause for a moment and give the generous soul looking to lend a helping hand a chance to catch up to me.
alice c said…
I feel unbearably anxious about this story.
islaygirl said…
i live in the desert southwest, and during the summer i often see moms waiting with babies at bus stops or walking with strollers, and i always want to stop and ask if they want a ride, and i stupid urban fear keeps me from doing it. next time i will.
Anonymous said…
This world needs more people like you, bb. Like you in every way.

Oh, and that is not a *boy*-type story. It appeals to those of us who 1, have had babies; B, worn shoes that hurt unbearably. Boys do not (generally) fall into either of those categories.
Anonymous said…
Ouch. Those blisters sound terrible. Poor thing.
smalltownme said…
I wonder what happened?
Anonymous said…
Almost offering a woman with blisters a ride? When are you applying for sainthood?
Duyvken said…
The poor thing, no wonder she wanted to get home. It takes a few months to get the knack of going out with baby. I hope she has bandaids, warm socks, a happy baby to coo over and a lover to make her dinner.
You are a dear for wanting to help. I am sure she would have felt greatly cheered by it even if she didn't take you up on it.
And don't worry, in a big place like Tuvalu I am sure you will have a chance to help again before you know it.
Anonymous said…
This is what makes bb, bb.
Anonymous said…
I hope she went home to a warm house and a loving partner who had already prepared dinner, threw the shoes in the bin and put her feet up. That's my glass half full version.
Eleanor said…
I really really needed someone like you as I was walking the streets of Providence RI with Ms. Baby Commentbox in March 1992.
Laura Jane said…
I hear ya...oh I feel sick with worry for her myself.

I can't think why those sweet boys of yours are UNinterested in the possibilities of your observations.

It could Middle's next short film. I bet he'll dredge up that memory when he's thirty and make a film about it.

(oh my - the wv is 'colon')
Allison said…
What a generous gesture to have made, if you had had the chance. That is a terrible predicament to be in!

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