Last night, I saw a crazy woman.
I swear to god, sometimes I wonder how many sane people there actually are in the world.
This woman was carrying a large backpack on her back, the sort that’s used for hiking or making camping trips. She was also carrying a pillow with her. What was most surprising was that she was walking up and down the sidewalk, screaming at the top of her lungs into a “cellphone” that was only her hand. She was screaming things like, “Because he’s an asshole! He’s a fucking asshole!” I think she also said that “he”—whoever he is—was a murderer and a liar. She went down an escalator, came back up, crossed the street, returned, walked down the sidewalk, turned around and walked back. Making her rounds, I guess.
I wonder if she ever leaves there. Maybe she just walks and walks and walks around that area every day, going nowhere, letting whoever it is she thinks she’s talking to know exactly what sort of creep the unnamed guy is. I wonder who she’s talking to, as well as who she’s talking about. Maybe her father? Her husband? Boyfriend? Son? Maybe a best friend from her childhood who stopped calling years ago. Maybe an understanding grandfather who passed away when she was younger, abandoning her. Maybe a priest, who offered hope where none exists, or a teacher who tried to help her but couldn’t. Or maybe she doesn’t know him at all. Maybe he was just a face on the news she saw once, a criminal or an arsonist or a weatherman whose face became the face of evil in her mind.
I think I could have stood there all night watching her, trying to see inside her mind, trying to understand her thoughts. I could have made up a thousand different stories for her, ones where she’s the hero, ones where she’s the villain, and ones where there is neither hero nor villain. No victims, no murderers, no liars, no persecutors. No one but an ill woman walking down the street and screaming into her fingers, which are folded into the likeness of a telephone.
I could have stood there thinking for hours, but I was drawn away by my friends, onto the next place, the next activity, the next chapter. Maybe it’s good that they did. The woman on the phone, who perhaps can’t or doesn’t ever leave, is stuck in a place of transition. Maybe it’s part of life to move ever onward and not to get stuck in any one place.