I left the house later than usual today, and caught sight of a neighbor making what in my day we called “The Walk of Shame”.
She tripped from car to sidewalk on spiked high heels below tight dress pants. Her black quilted coat surely made the outfit stunning, but hardly protected her from the crispness of a winter morning. At the twenty-five miles per hour demanded by our neighborhood, I could see the limpness of her once-lovely curls and the wobble of her walk. As I neared her position, she turned her head towards me, clutching her dark glasses against her face with one hand. From the other, a gold-chained dressy pocketbook dangled, in black quilting that matched the coat. She paused, and though I could not see her eyes, I knew her thoughts: Don’t judge me.
I drove on. I did not judge. For all I know, she stayed out drinking until dawn with her best girlfriends and a cousin from out of town. It’s not necessarily so that she went home with a man who looked good until just before dawn.
At court I took too much pleasure from the mild scolding that my opposing counsel got for being considerably late. In exchange for his tardiness and last-minute announcement that his client repudiated the apparent settlement, we lost our trial date. I did not mind; I had booked two trials in one week, and had been secretly worried about my schedule. I soothed my client, spent ten minutes maneuvering back to “almost settled”, and then made my way to the office. I told the story, telling several folks gathered how sorry I felt for the lawyer. My suite mates laughed; one said, You don’t seem sorry. And I admitted: I was not.
My day ended with a trip for groceries and wine. In the liquor store, a man with hunched shoulders, a lined face, and thin grey hair, loaded my purchases into a box and hauled them to my car. He looked at the side-by-side sedans unlawfully parked in handicapped spots without qualifying plates or placard and shook his head. Sorry about that, Miss, he said, and I smiled. I told him, I think you just need to make the signage more obvious, and he gave me a thin, brief smile. I bade him good night, and got in the car.
I passed the home of the woman whom I had seen in the morning. Shades drawn, car cold and still, the house revealed nothing of her day. I continued on, and parked in my driveway. From my steps, I studied the new solar lights along the walk. All but one had taken in enough sunlight to cast a lovely ring of light. I stood gazing at the their gentle glow for a few minutes, before turning to go into my own home and close the door against the night.