the lady at the intersection

As I was on my way from the gym to Trader Joe’s I saw a woman with a brown placard standing at an intersection. The placard read – “I am jobless and have two kids. Help me.” I saw the woman in her eye as I was driving and I could tell that she really needed money. There was a young five-year old sitting right next to the woman. She was clearly clueless about what was going on around her. Some bone twitched and I resolved to buy something for the lady and her daughter and drop it at the intersection on my way back.

I went to TJ’s and shopped for some fruits and veggies. To keep myself engaged I also spoke to my Mom who is on the east coast and then made my way to the counter.  It was when I was walking out of the store that I remembered my resolution. I looked inside the bags and decided that if I see the woman at the intersection I will give her a bag of apples. I placed the bag on top of the pile and walked towards my car.

For a few seconds there I fell in my own eyes. How did I forget about the woman so soon? I should have bought something specially for her, since that was what I resolved to do when I saw her. But in a matter of minutes I had forgotten her, and my resolution too. It was as if she did not matter. Is that how we all are? So consumed in our lives that we don’t even have time to think about those around us?

As I drove past the same intersection my eyes looked for the woman and her daughter. They were nowhere to be found. I drove around the parking lot but they were not there. I felt a little bit disappointed. A little bit ashamed and also a tiny bit relieved.

These were the moments that mattered to me today. Moments when I was standing in front of the mirror that reflected my reality back at me.

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