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Sunday, September 03, 2006Untitled
This morning I went into Starbucks to buy a dose of caffeine. As usual, there was a line and as usual, the people behind the counter were slow. When my turn approached, I gave my order and waited patiently while the girl filled a cup with my morning drug. We made small talk about waking up early, still being sleepy, the weather forecast for the day (HOT), and other tid-bits. As she rang me up, I couldn’t help but notice the scars from a razor that had left their mark up her left forearm. I caught myself looking and quickly looked away – hoping that she hadn’t seen me look. She was still talking – wishing me well with the errands that take up a Sunday morning and bidding me a nice day. I looked at her and smiled, thanked her for the vat of caffeine, and wished her a nice day too.
What I wanted to do was reach across the counter and give her a hug. I wanted to tell her that it was all going to be okay – that cutting up her body was no reprieve from the world. I wanted to talk longer – to ask why? But there was a line of people. And who am I to be asking such questions to a complete stranger?
It’s now the middle of the afternoon and I can’t stop thinking about her. I have the image of her arm – her scars – in my head. Each of them piercing my heart.
I have done my best to be an advocate for young adults – especially women. I love the work that I do and I can’t imagine ever wanting to do anything else. But there are moments when I wish I could have gotten to THAT ONE – and sooner. Maybe I wouldn’t have made a difference; but then again, maybe I would have. The young women I have led on retreats and those whom I meet during interviews are at that critical stage in life… Many of them have told me their stories. I try my best to fully understand and offer advice when I can – or when it is welcomed. I know that I’m only a blip on their radar screen and someone who is temporarily involved in their lives… but if it makes a difference to JUST ONE, maybe even THAT ONE, then it matters.
As for this girl, I can only hope that she is in a better place in life. I hope she has someone who is a genuine friend and who is supportive of her. The next time I visit that Starbucks, I hope I see her again – just to give her a smile and maybe talk about the weather. …At least it’s a start…
For more information on cutting, please visit this website.