Last week I was walking along in the sunshine. I passed a woman sitting on a bench and I glanced at her as I passed. Her face was pale and she looked tired. Her hair was dark and straight. Her upper arms were white, but the rest of her arms were sunburnt. The perils of short sleeves in hot sun. She was talking to a young man who was standing outside a shop. I heard her say, 'I don't drink, I don't smoke. Why us? Why did it have to happen to us?'
I have no idea what she was talking about. Perhaps she was ill, maybe she had miscarried. Who knows? I thought of how little we know about other people's lives. All around us the drama of life is being lived. People are dying, others grieve their loss. Every day someone is told they have a life threatening illness and they and their families go on with their lives for as long as they can. They are in Sainsbury's or Tesco doing the shopping, they are picking up the children from school, sitting on trains, waiting for buses - and what is going on in their heads? If the pale, sunburnt woman had said nothing as I passed, would I have thought twice about her? I wouldn't have been aware of her distress. She doesn't know how strong an impression she made on me. How much I identified with what she said. 'Why us? Why did it have to happen to us?'