Her arms were crossed. Angry brown eyes holding back the tears while looking across the street. Avoiding any eye contact with her lunch date. A wall of glass separated me from her, but the entire Atlantic Ocean separated her from her boyfriend who was sitting across from her icy demeanor. He reached for her hand. She pushed his offering away, making the physical distance between them seem like light years.
I was inside the restaurant with my kids. Enjoying lunch. GF pizza and a salad. My tummy was satisfied, but my heart was hurting. They were sitting outside on the covered patio. The air was cool and her heart was frozen. It was painfully obvious something bad and irreparable had transpired to bring this couple to this deep crevasse in their relationship.
I kept watching, glancing, trying not to stare. I felt like I was watching a movie. This particular scene was unfolding at rapid pace. She rummaged through her black hand bag, trying to find her wallet. Upon finding her credit card, she tossed it on the table. He covered it with his hand and motioned for her to put it back up. She abruptly left the table and his head dropped. Her credit card still lying on the table, he got his wallet out and flagged down the waitress.
I munched on another slice of pizza and wondered what must be going on between them. I physically felt my body aching for them. I quietly prayed. Lord, help them work this out. Help them reach the other side of this icy crevasse. Just then, my oldest, who is intuitively brave with her questions asked, “mama, what’s wrong?”
Busted. By a 9-year-old.
I motioned with my head to the young man sitting alone outside and told her not to stare, but to listen to me. I shared that he was there with his girlfriend and they seemed to be having a disagreement. Then came the next question, “how do you know?”
Because I’ve been watching them for the past 15 minutes. Hurting for them.
About this time, the young lady came back to the table. Arms still crossed. Eyes still hurting. She plopped down into the chair and crossed her legs. Her body all tied up like a pretzel and her heart all tied up in knots. It’s amazing how much our body can reflect what we are feeling on the inside. It’s very hard to hide pain. We can numb it, but it’s impossible to hide it.
The young man slid her credit card across the icy depths of the 3 foot round table. She grabbed it off the table, took the last gulp from her wine glass, and left him sitting there. Alone. She crossed the street and he watched her every step. The crevasse was ripping open further. He could feel it and so could I.
I’ll never know what becomes of this young couple. Maybe this is what Cheryl Strayed meant when she said, “As long as I live I’ll never tire of people-watching. On city buses and park benches. In small-town cafes and crowded elevators. At concerts and swimming pools. To people-watch is to glimpse the mysterious and the banal, the public face and the private gesture, the strangest other and the most familiar self. It’s to wonder how and why and what and who and hardly ever find out.”
I’ll never find out. And I don’t have to know, but I will pray. For both of them. For them to each find their way, whether it’s together or apart.
Finding our own way in life. We can’t do it for each other, but we can encourage and cheer each other along our individual paths.
Who can you encourage this week? Who can you pray for?
I’m praying for you.
your fellow traveler
This post is part of my Moving Forward series. I try post something new every Sunday to prepare us for the week ahead. If you have enjoyed what you read, you can sign up to have my blog posts land in your inbox. Sign up at the top of this page, upper right hand corner. Thank you.