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Two weeks ago I was traveling on business and, while waiting in purgatory at the local airport, I sipped coffee at Starbucks (like a yuppie, oh yea). I sat at the terminal window, on a bar-stool, voyering people unloading their luggage from the protection of tinted glass. Off to my left was a young black woman who I though was half-sleeping - except, she wasn't. It took me a few moments to realize it but she was quietly sobbing.

Perhaps what was disturbing about this was not the grief in public but rather that I had no idea what to do. Should I have attempted to comfort? Some people seem to be able to force other people to accept their help -- aggressively insisting that they be allowed share in grief and pain. But, being a rather introverted person myself and never having developed that skill, that didn't seem like a good idea. I thought about just walking away since she was clearly trying to conceal it. But, that would have made me a prick confirming whatever internal loathing of the human condition her current crisis had put her in. Damn, so complicated.

In the end, I grabbed some napkins, offered them to her and asked if there was any way I could help. She half-sobbed, Oh, no thanks, I'm just praying. I said okay and left her to her missery.

Two hours later, when my plane finally boarded, she was the TSA lady that took my boarding pass and waved me through; I don't think she even recognized me or was even thinking about crying earlier.

All around me, people stepped on to land that they had never been to before.

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jasondclinton
Jason D. Clinton

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