A bystander’s perspective
There are times where writing about something is just too difficult. Writing it from someone else’s perspective can really help express what is otherwise too close and painful.
My name is Mike and I like to bike everywhere. When the days are especially warm like today, I ride around without my shirt. Today, as I was riding my regular route I noticed massive destruction. A row of 5 old houses were being torn down by the biggest bulldozer I had ever seen. People like me stopped to gape at the scene, excited kids with stars in their eyes. It was really unreal, the rubble of 5 houses lying at my feet. I whipped out my phone to video this, because this is not something I see every day.
Out of the corner of my eyes I noticed an observer. She was an orthodox woman. She did not have the look of awe, fascination and delight. In her face I saw raw indescribably pain. It was a look of grief and loss, the look of a loved one being ripped out of her arms. I watched the tears stream down her face as the bulldozer tore off what must have once been an upstairs bedroom.
I was intrigued by her as there was this definite, traceable energy flowing between her and the house. The hair on my arms stood up as I observed someone in the process of mourning and grieving watching the destruction of something so dear to her. I saw every wince in her face as more and more of the house came down, untill the pain was so intense that she turned her back on what was left of the house and turned to go.
She almost bumped into me. She looked kind of bashful about being observed in a very vulnerable state. “That was my house,” she whispered, perhaps to me, perhaps to no one, perhaps to the universe. She walked forlornly to her car and drove away. I just wanted to scoop her up into an embrace, but impropriety held me back. She was a married orthodox woman, and I was a man on a bike without a shirt. I tried to transmit with my deep blue eyes the hug of human connection, an embrace of empathy, the connectivity of being a witness to an emotional life changing moment. I think she got it.