Welcome, beautiful traveler. I greet you with a story.
Earlier today, I passed a woman crying on a bench in the Denver airport. She had her head in her hands, and for a moment I assumed this was simply another stranded passenger among many, waiting exhaustedly for a delayed flight. Then I heard her sobbing, and I knew better.
An instinct struck me, to ask if she was all right. And then, just as quickly, that instinct capsized beneath a wave of doubt. Would she be angry at the intrusion? Embarrassed? Would I do more harm than good?
I walked on. I checked in at my gate. I pondered my noble impulse and the cowardice that had tripped it up.
I walked partway back.
She still sat there, wiping her eyes now. Had she recovered from her moment of grief? I looked out the windows at planes on the taxiway.
I looked back down the hallway again. Other passengers walked by the woman. One glanced at her with a look that suggested she must still be crying.
I made up my mind to do what I knew I ought to do. I walked over and asked if she was okay. She didn't quite hear, and asked, "What?"
I repeated myself. "Are you okay?"
She nodded and said something quickly, "Yeah" or "Uh-huh," just enough to shield herself from an admission of her pain. Her eyes met mine with an uncertain mixture of confusion and gratitude, as though she couldn't quite understand why a stranger would be expressing concern.
"Good luck, then," I said, "with whatever it is that's bothering you."
She said, "Thank you."
And she meant it -- I knew she really meant it, even though she didn't say anything else.
Sometimes you can tell these things.
I hope she's okay.
Thank you, goddess of love, for the opportunity to help -- even if only in the smallest of ways.