Public Private News

I sat at the gate in an airport listening to my dad explain to me what “hospice” is.  As I realized what it meant for my grandmother, tears began their slow slide down my cheeks, pooling in the crevice above my lip.  My nose closed up, my face got hot and my throat suddenly felt like I had a cold.  Halting speech and a spasm-ing chest.  My seat was in a circle of other seats, and six other people sat in it too.

I noticed their careful not-noticing of my grief.  It might be a testament to the disconnection of the human experience, the fragmentation of society that these strangers appeared unmoved by my turmoil.  Or perhaps it was a moment displaying the sympathetic kindness of strangers, attempting to give me the dignity of privacy in a very public place.

I don’t know which.  I guess I get to choose how I see it, and I don’t think it matters what was actually going on in each of us.

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