“After Midnight”

This is a Five Minute Free Write, where I literally write for five minutes and then time is up, and I hit ‘save.’

If it weren’t for the traffic, I would’ve missed it…

It was a beautiful Saturday morning, approximately fourteen hours ago from the time of this writing. I had decided to take advantage of the cool but not cold weather and walk a couple of miles at our local park. But first, a run through a fast food joint for a quick breakfast, ‘carbing up’ my already carb-filled frame.

Since the opening of the shiny and new Walmart a few months ago, traffic has never been the same. As I made my turn onto Main Street, I was moving oh so slowly.

Maybe it was the red of her sweatshirt that caught my eye. As I crawled on Main, I turned to look at a nearby gas station and saw a brief exchange that moved me to tears.

Time’s up. But I’ll go into overtime to tell this tale. It’s near midnight on Monday, and I’ve had some time to dwell on this story.

Next to the pump closest to the street (and me) was a little silver sedan. Standing by the passenger door was a lady that was maybe my age or older. The artificial brown of her long hair had the look of many colorings. Behind her was who I assumed to be her older teen daughter, with the same length hair, but with the color that nature and DNA had assigned to mother and offspring.

What caught my eye was the eyes of the mother. They say the windows to our souls are the eyes…and what I saw in these windows was unadulterated sadness.

The daughter of the red sweatshirt had arms wrapped around her mom. Standing behind her, the daughter lay her head upon the shoulder of her hurting mother.

It was such a brazen act of love that it took my breath away. I literally did a double take. Lost in the moment, I wondered what pain caused such a PDA to be a vital necessity.

As the traffic began to move, I saw the dad(?) approach the car. And as soon as they were aware of his presence, the embrace of comforting girl for hurting woman quickly broke apart.

I love to watch people. I often wonder about the lives of the people I observe, but rarely have the opportunity to discover their reality. The truth is that I typically lack the courage.

On that Saturday I longed to know the truth of their tale. Christ as the Man of Sorrows is far more relatable to me than anyone else’s favorite Jesus. I felt a palpable shock of empathy with the sad mother with too brown hair and sorrowful gaze.

What did we have in common?

We shared the same eyes…