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.