It’s strange how the most unremarkable of moments can be fractured by your mind. I saw a woman fall the other day, and her drop split apart into infinitesimal interconnected pictures, the downward motion suddenly the least interesting characteristic, just a catalyst for the more powerful transformation of one instant into another.
There was a certain grief around her eyes, not shock or fear. The blonde frame around her face retreated and exposed the old woman hiding inside a still-too-young-for-minivans girl, of a fearful 32.
Maybe just last year she would have caught herself, not surrendered so quickly. I clearly remember her arms not even bracing, but groping lethargically, like out-of-orbit satellites on tragic trajectories toward some inevitable void.
There was probably some gentle trauma of a landing, as insignificant and quiet as she herself had become. A pretty young girl went gray in front of me, and mourned herself just long enough to give me the perfect metaphor for the rest of her life.
Every wrinkle cream, young boyfriend, and hair dye, every hidden stretch mark, topless car and nightclub lie will be covered by the growing shadow of the long, slow fall that will eventually pull her into an oblivion of her choosing.
She didn’t even notice; I wonder if I would.