Perched on the edge of the fountain, she was totally alone in a boisterous crowd. The day was cold and bleak. She existed in a cocoon. She did not smile. She did not speak. She looked but did not appear to see. What was going on inside her head?
The child was young, very young. The mother was not much older. Maybe she was waiting for her partner. Maybe she was waiting for her mother, or for a gaggle of sisters. But here she sat, in splendid isolation. She stared down at the bundle of clothing. Her hands did not move, her arms did not jiggle. Her body did not sway. Disconnected. Alone.
I wanted to go over and sit next to her and smile. I wanted to ask her name, the age of the child, if she was alright. Instead, I walked down the pathway to the bus stop.