Bearing Witness

You need stuff; you go get stuff.  My visits to the supermarket and its environs are in general non-events.  One late spring morning last year I was feeling rather pleased with myself as I exited the store with only two plastic bags in tow.  Opening the car door, I deposit the bags.  Cars pull in; cars pull out.  The usual rhythms of activity in a suburban mall.

As I put the key in the ignition and prepare to start my car, my attention is drawn to the sight of a slight woman collapse onto the blacktop.  I recall she had been in line behind me. Collapse  may not be the most descriptive word for she just folds in half as she sinks onto the warm road, as graceful as a dancer.  She appears conscious yet makes no effort to rise.  A younger woman who trails a few paces behind her catches up and bends over  grabbing under her armpits in an attempt to lift her. The effort leaves left both women disheveled.