I wasn’t looking for an omen for the
new year when I met her, I was just
trying to get home, but things came
differently. She talked me up as the
train came and so we shared a booth.
Where I was going and what I was doing
there and with whom, she asked.
I put the ball back in her court and
all of it she guessed correctly. How
could that be? How did she know?
So I asked her in return – freedom
seemed to be her desire. It also
seemed to be her doom as it had led her
out of her home and onto the bench
in the airport area on which she slept at night.
She wasn’t the only one there and appeared to
be quite installed, but the forecast had heralded
the first snow of the newly hatched season.
So she had left it all behind, even her kids,
except for her books, at the fragile age of seventy-six
— if the story is true, but how can I judge,
if mine isn’t always from the outside
what it feels like to me on the inside.
The ride was too short for the depths
of our dialog and the darkness it was
piercing through — naively so, perhaps,
but supremely confidently for sure.
What we shared was our moment of truth,
because we were in it together, speaking
freely about how compromising swiftly
turns into settling just as the system is
first your alibi and then becomes your
pimp. Does the path of freedom only lead
into the wild? For her it did, she has no
regrets, so she claims, and again, only these
words matter. Whether we meet again or
not, Ingrid was my reminder that money’s
worth is largely defined by its absence,
people’s values by their chosen presence
and life so absurd that only relishing it
makes sense. And so, perhaps, meaning.