Back in January, I blogged about a very sad woman I found on the subway. Since then, I haven't seen hide nor hair of her. Just yesterday morning, someone replied to a posting I'd commented on on my coaching school's discussion board, in which I mentioned meeting this woman and how acknowledging her as a human had really brightened us both up. The reply asked whether I'd seen her again.
Fast forward 4 hours to me once again tearing thru the subway system, this time with a change of clothes for Douglas and I, toys to entertain him for 5 hours on a bus, a bag of supper, and Douglas himself ... rushing to catch a bus to go to Doug's dads funeral in Harrisburg. Late? Of course. Hoping to meet up with Michael, coming from an interview, and get a decent seat and not miss the bus. Trekking through grand Central on our way to the bus terminal, I smelled what seemed to be an outhouse, prompting an "ooh yuck" from me, and a glance around wondering where it came from. Expecting it to fade in a step or two, I found it strange that 40 feet later it smelled just as strong. Then I noticed a woman shuffling between the pillars, dodging the hurrying crowds a wee bit, who we had just passed. I ducked my head to see her face, and realized with a shock of recognition that this was the very same women I'd seen months before, and most definitely the source of the smell.
Instant dilemma and war started in my head. I'm late. I'm dragging a toddler. I have not a cent in my wallet. I have food, but would she want it? I wanted some 'safe' pretext for approacing her. She was swinging a small black shopping bag, had her hair in a blue paper shower-cap thing, and hospital slippers on her feet. Just as I'm standing in front of the turnstile exits, watching the crowd part around me and feeling totally torn and guilty, up walks Michael, whistling and not seeing us at first. "Michael, it's her, it's her! Thesmellyladyfrommonthsago, over thereintheblueshowercap, doyouhaveanymoney?" He stops and turns, picks her out, and says "well, here's a dollar". I asked him to give it to her, and he trots over, with me following more slowly. He stopped in front of her, and started to speak to her and got the same head-jerking-away reaction I'd had months before. "Ma'am, my wife asked me to give you this."
Big smile. "Oh thank you sir, thanks so much!" He starts towards me and I'm almost to him ... "Ask her name!". He turns back and I arrive in time to hear the answer and see the most delightful smile and gorgeous blue eyes. "Jean. My name's Jean." A few more thank you's, met you befores and glad to meet you's, and we took off for the bus.
Glad to meet you, Jean :) I'd had her pegged as Alice in my head for some reason, but am very glad to get the real one.