"Well, sure, if you find my glasses for me." I searched through my bag, as she laughed, offering me her own specs. "Should you be at home in bed?" I asked. Something about her raspy voice triggered my maternal instincts.
"No I have a disc problem. C5 to C7 are so bad they affect my voice."
"Oh migosh. Were you in an accident? Do you still hurt?"
"Yeah. An accident. Hurt all the time. They were going to operate, but there was a risk of ending up a paraplegic. So I decided against surgery. Easier to handle whispering to people."
As soon as she said it, I felt the impact––metal slamming against metal. In a flash, I sensed the transformation of her ordinary day into a life forever complicated by hospitals, prescriptions, and pain.
I want to hold on to our conversation. I hope it makes me kind to the next person who wanders across my path, now that I'm reminded tragedy rests just beneath the skin. Struggle is the tie that binds us. It's a connection imperceptible to the eyes. You see it with your heart.