I saw you. You did not see me. The sudden awareness took my breath away. My feet would not move, and my voice would not sound. But there you were.
You were clad in black with a slouchy jacket, its hood so big that most of your face was obscured. On your shoulders was a backpack which I understood to be full of your belongings, a burden pulling down on your broad shoulders. In your hands you carried an old office phone. I understood that you had lost your cell phone.
We were in a large public space, and you were standing at a tall ticket counter. You placed the phone on the ledge, and turned away. After several steps you settled onto a bench, sliding your bag off your shoulders to the floor, beside your feet. There you hunched over and I was aware of great sadness in you. I turned to the counter, toward the phone and considered the situation. Did you leave the phone for me? Should I risk you seeing me? I did not know the right thing to do. A hum in my head became louder. The sound frightened me as it grew stronger, obscuring all other noise around me and confusing me. It wouldn't stop. I felt the sound was so loud it would kill me. The sound was coming from inside me. It was a great wail of grief that I could not express, and for a moment I was dying. I knew I needed to walk to the phone. In a haze of confusion I approached the counter where you'd left the phone. I saw the unfamiliar number on a sticker pasted on the face near the dial pad. I reached for the phone and took it into my hands as a precious object, with great care. The horrible noise in my head stopped. I turned around and you were still there on the bench, still hunched over with your head down. I approached you and said, "Please talk to me. I need to talk to you. Please don't run away." You sat up. "I haven't seen you in four months. I haven't heard your voice in four months. " You lifted your head to me, and I saw pain and bitterness in your eyes. "Four months? Really? Are you still mad at me?" "What do you mean? You've been so angry with me, but I don't know why." And we looked at each other for a long while, our eyes filling with tears as the realization came that we both felt that the other had been responsible for the hurt. You stood up and reached out to me, taking me in with your young, strong arms."There there mother. We're okay. We're okay."