Friday, November 5, 2010

Young Woman Alone on a Bridge

She lived alone in her own house in Midwest suburbia. Was she content living in this house all alone? A couple months earlier she finally saw her deadbeat boyfriend for who he was, or at least she finally took the steps she needed to take for her emotional wellbeing but had not previously mustered the strength. After a painful ordeal, she broke ties, and endeavored to move on with her life.

She returned from a three-week vacation in Florida. She needed time to think. Now that she’s back in her house, she finds that she missed her solitude. She’s independent and free. Although she is relatively content with her aloneness, at the same time she longs for a different life. If she were honest with herself, she'd confess deep down that, despite the narrative she created for herself and rehearsed for others who dared to ask, she did not want to be an old maid like her aunt. She wouldn’t find solace in a nunnery. She tried not to feel sorry for herself in these contemplative moments, for she loathed herself for being so pathetic. Everyone she met thought her to be a woman of such strength. They didn’t know how vulnerable she really was.

When the weather was nice and she had the time, she’d sit on her back porch, drinking coffee or wine, reading poetry, and listening to her favorite composer. The young woman would sigh all too often in these moments. On one particular day, her glass of wine magically turned to a cup of tea and she became a character in a 19th-century English novel, awaiting the arrival of her soul mate. She was Jane Austen’s Elizabeth Bennet hoping Mr. Darcy would drop by, her Mr. Darcy, a man like her, who understands her, driven by passion, yet gentle and kind—another tormented soul with whom she could find companionship. Yes, she was no longer on her back porch looking at barren trees; instead, she was sitting in the drawing room with her sisters, engaging in pleasantries on the outside, while like the brown leaves blowing across her lawn, she was swirling with emotions within and nobody in the drawing room knew.

On another day, the young woman’s dreams got the best of her. She decided to take advantage of an unexpected break in the cold month of November by walking a few blocks to the park. So she put on her sweater and knit cap, filled a thermal tumbler full of decaf coffee, and headed out. A creek cuts through the middle of the park until it meets a pond, upon which sits a stone wooden bridge. The young woman stood on the bridge, sipping her coffee and looking down at large stones protruding from the pond in a few places.  She gazed across the pond toward the trees; she glanced left and right at the path that led to the bridge.  She was waiting. Waiting for something. Waiting for someone.