No one had ever called her beautiful -- or even pretty.
Except maybe her father. But fathers are required to see what the world cannot see. And, in her case, the world didn’t.
She was right out of a Faulkner novel. In her 40s, but looking as if Social Security retirement checks had blessed her checking account for years.
Looking uncomfortable, she joined the middle class crowd on the HUT shuttle to the Portland Airport. They were not her crowd. As far as she was concerned, they were all part of the Jay Gatsby set.
She had built a cushion of weight and words to protect herself from their judgment. And they then judged her for both.
Three in the morning is a time for bus silence. Even the electronic crowd snoozes at that time of the morning.
But not her. She had boarded the bus with a boyfriend. Both of them trailing a scent cloud of cat urine. The telltale sign of veteran methamphetamine users.
And that may have explained the constant flow of words. Like a silk worm building its defensive cocoon.
For some reason, people who seem to be unable to control their urge to speak also seem to have volume issues. What we often call drunk deafness.
The bus had barely pulled out of the hotel when she started her soliloquy to her almost unconscious boyfriend. The trip was too long for her. Her feet hurt. Her sister did not understand her. And countless other topics that her unwilling audience on the bus could not understand because of her tendency to squawk out syllables.
At her most tragic, she took out her mobile telephone, activated the GPS, and then carried on a conversation with it. The GPS bested her.
Her little drama ended in tears at the airport when she could not find her shooooooe --– pronounced as if she had turned herself into a Patriot missile.
As irritating as she was, I started thinking about what had brought her to this place. Nature had not imbued her with natural beauty. And she had then created a personality to avoid any other hurt.
She was one of God’s creatures -- a member of the human race -- deserving of respect. But I suspect she found the world to be a dangerous place. Not a place to be enjoyed.
And that thought saddened me. Here I am on my way back to Mexico -- fully looking forward to my time there as another moment to be enjoyed to its fullest.
For that, I am thankful this morning.