In traffic yesterday there was a woman in a minivan wearing sunglasses.

Her hair was gathered at the nape of her neck. The breeze had pulled loose sometendrils and blew them around her face.

The windows of her van were rolled down, the sun lighting her arm as it rested on the door.

A song drifted out of her van. She stared straight ahead.

I noticed a tear slipped down her cheek, at least, I think it was a tear. It wasn't hot enough for it to be a trickle of sweat.

What was she thinking about? I couldn't see her eyes, but you could tell her mind was anywhere else but there in traffic, listening to the radio.

It was early afternoon, from what I could see, she wasn't dressed up. Maybe she got fired from her job recently. Or maybe she was playing hookey from a job she felt completely dispensable doing. Maybe she hated that she would have to go back to that same job tomorrow.

She had a minivan, maybe she was thinking about how her kids looked as she dropped them off at daycare or with a sitter. Maybe one cried and clung to her leg, saying "I'll miss you, Mommy...", the look on the child's face breaking her heart just a little.

She was alone, maybe she was thinking she would rather be spending the day in quiet companionship with her husband.

Or maybe, she had just seen her Grandfather in the nursing home. Maybe she couldn't bring herself to say the words she really wanted to say "I miss you, Papa" because those words would be a verbal acknowledgement of the fact that he isn't the same Papa he used to be. Things have changed too much, too fast for him. Maybe his mind can't keep up with all the changes anymore. Maybe she can see that in his blue eyes.

The words from the song on her radio drifted out of the van again...
He said, You know, I haven't always been this way
I've had my moments, days in the sun
Moments I was second to none
Moments when I knew I did what I thought I couldn't do

Maybe she and her Grandfather had talked briefly about how he used to ride his own motorcycle. Maybe they had sat on his bed in that room he shared with a stranger and looked at pictures of the life he'd lived, his family. Maybe he talked about how he missed his wife who passed away last year. Maybe the weight of that thought, so simply stated felt like a huge boulder to the woman in the van.

Maybe she was at a loss for what she could do for her Grandfather. Maybe she wanted to "fix" him, but felt it was impossible. Maybe she just felt helpless.
Lookin' at me now you might not know it
Oh, lookin' at me now you might not know it
But I've had my moments

Or, maybe she was just having a bad day. Maybe her day would get better after a chocolate shake and a little shopping. I doubted it, though.

The traffic light changed from red to green, the moment passed and she went on her way.

Moments - Emerson Drive


Brudder doug said...

Oh, dear Sis, that just tears my heart asunder. Grandpa and leaving the kids to go to work, knowing they miss you.

Would that I could wipe your tears away and make things all better.

sharkey said...

Wow . . . the grandpa part of the story really hit home for me. I can totally relate to those feelings. I wish all could be well for both our grandpas.

Excellent, excellent post, Kelli.

Lynn said...

Oh Kelli, my sweet friend. I bet if she held her grandfather's hand and told him that she loves him, it would touch his heart down inside where it counts. Down in that place that does not need the help of the mind to accept and feel love.

Mr. Bloggerific Himself said...

If you see her
tell her I'm sorry
tell her I
just tell her

To suck it up.

What? I can steal and old song and make it mine!

WILLIAM said...


Susie said...

mrB is shameless. This is beautifully written. We are all so much more alike than different. I quote this often, but it is so true: "That which is most personal is most universal."

I have no grandpas. I watch with joy when my girl spends time with her PopPop.

Circus Kelli said...

Thank you, dear Brudder.

Sharkey - I wish the same right back for you.

Thank you, Lynn.

Mr B - And a fine job you did, too.

Hi, William.

He's the last Grandpa I have left, Susie.

Thanks, all for the kind words on my post.

Platypus said...

That was beautiful. :)

Nina said...

Very beautiful . . . my grandpa died in 1993 and even still to this day I miss him. Touched my heart you did.

Circus Kelli said...

Platypus - Thank you, love.

Nina - Thank you for stopping by and commenting! I really appreciate that.

eclectic said...

Fan-tastic post, CK. This moved me almost to tears myself. The scene so well set, the words so well written, the feelings so well distilled. Sometimes I hate that life has stages I'd just as soon skip. But it does, and I can't... and neither can you or your Papa. I'm sorry for that. And I wish I could give you a hug. And some cookies. :)

Patsy Ann said...

I loved my grandpa very much also, he died when I was still a child; be sure and show your loved ones how very special that they are to all of you. You brought this scene very much to life!

Circus Kelli said...

Eclectic - It's a toss up for which I'd enjoy more... the hug or the cookies. :)

Patsy Ann - Welcome! Thank you for your kind words, and the reminder. I'll do my best.

Effie said...

that song always makes me stop and think...that woman was remembering something for sure...

well written, Kel!

All Circus Life pages and content are owned and
copyrighted by me, 2000-2013