I hate myself. I realize that’s a common theme with me these days, but today I can’t stop crying about how awful I am. This woman on the train was howling, that awful guttural cry you make when something is horribly wrong. The problem is, it’s rush hour and super crowded and no one wants to look at each other must less interact. And we are used to it, these noises of the emotionally disturbed, the begging for money, the cursing at us when we don’t respond. And I figured, there’s nothing I can do. I saw a woman slip this woman money Grandma-style; the two had clearly interacted before I boarded the train. At the next stop after I got on another man told her, “you have to get off here, honey, this is where you crossover.” He had also spoken with her before my stop. But before I saw these people I debated fiercely with myself whether or not to bend down and ask her what was wrong, what can I do? Or just offer comfort. Or anything. But I didn’t. No one has ever ‘bent down’ for me in the train or on the streets when I’ve been upset. Not that I would want them to, really – regardless, I followed the NYC protocol and just read my book as if nothing happened.
I didn’t even offer a fucking Kleenex. The ONE thing someone has done for me that changed my entire life, and I didn’t even pull the pack of Kleenex from my bag and hand it to her.
Who. Does. That. Who sees such an obvious parallel and doesn’t respond?
Once the woman left the train a man asked the aforementioned Samaritan if the woman was okay. The man said, “No.” And he followed up with, “She’s had one of those nights.”
And all I could think of was that she’s been sexually assaulted. Maybe that’s not true, but I’m obsessing over it. My passion, my patients, the ones I sit with for 24 hours without overtime pay if they need me, and I didn’t even ask what was wrong. Or offer a Kleenex.
I almost got off at the next stop and went back, but it was such a far away stop that I figured she’d be on the next train by then. But what if she wasn’t? I was too late for work to go back and check?
I am LOATHING myself. I feel dirty and disgusting and ashamed. I feel like this will come back to me in the worst way. I feel like I deserve it.
Not even. A damn. Kleenex.