My attention is immediately caught by the two women walking along the sidewalk as we wait for the light to turn green.
They walk together. Slowly. Measuring steps with legs physically touching as they progress. Arms wrapped around one another awkwardly. Upper bodies turned in toward one another as though they have been interrupted in the middle of a kiss and then forced to walk forward. But still . . . their bodies want that kiss.
I study them. One of the women is clearly in charge here, and closer inspection reveals that she is irritated with her companion. Embarrassed at this awkward display and strange closeness. She is abrupt and rude in her movements, and her partner cringes.
The second cringing woman does not see the shame and irritation on the other’s face. She turns her head toward her companion all beseeching and weak, her whole posture a question . . . a request for reassurance. She is like a newly born puppy, with unseeing eyes . . . straining to have needs met. Blind.
Of course, she’s wearing a blindfold, so she may not be quite herself.
My stomach hurts for her, for what she cannot see . . . how disgusted and annoyed her partner is at her yearning helplessness. And also? I hate her for her stupid weakness, for her willingness to put herself in this helpless position.
Or perhaps I am projecting.
I have issues with trust.
“What’s that about, you think?” Mark gestures at the women as the light turns green and we negotiate our way through the intersection.
I decide not to share the stomach-churning reaction I have had. I play at being normal, “Probably a class of some sort . . . one of those trust-building exercises.”
Mark turns and glances back at the women as we drive, “Can you imagine? What if you got a bad partner? Someone who shoved you into traffic? What then?”
He pantomimes a huge shove with both hands above the steering wheel, “Here! Right into traffic. That’ll teach you! Here’s your lesson!”
He laughs, “And the lesson? Is don’t trust anyone.”
He yells this lesson into the space of the car at top volume, “Don’t trust anyone!”