WINDOW

WINDOW SEAT

 
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We were floating toward the lights of a white-hot city when I noticed that the springy lady to my left, the one with the happy hair and the window seat, was bleeding.

The blood pooled beneath a homemade bandage and began to drip to her ankle bone and, though I can never remember what that bone is called, I’ll never forget my alarm.

Does she need help? Does she need me? Does she need me to help?

I’m ashamed to admit that my first impulse was to ignore her. In my defense, I just wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt, to believe that she was a woman of consequence and agency and that she didn’t need to be diminished by my concern.

And then, in an instant, I knew that this was not our story so I gently turned my head to the side and asked if she was okay.

She was, she said, though she was hurt and bleeding more than was fair and she had never bled on a plane before and was growing concerned but she had a plan for when she landed and she would be okay and thank you for seeing me and thank you for asking and thank you and thank you and thank you...

One month later I was floating away from the lights of a white-hot city when a happy lady with springy hair sitting in the window seat began to bleed.

The wetness pulled beneath her eyes and began to drip onto the delicate bone of her ankle and, though I may never remember what that godforsaken bone is called, I’ll never forget my alarm.

Do you need help? Do you need me? Do you need me to help?

My first impulse was to ignore her, to give her the benefit of the doubt, to believe that she was a woman of consequence and that she needn’t be diminished.

And then I knew that this was only a story so I gently turned my head to the side and asked if she was okay.

She was, she said, though she was hurt and bleeding more than was fair and she had never bled from her eyes on a plane before and was growing concerned but she had a plan for when she landed and she would be okay and thank you for seeing me and thank you for asking and thank you and thank you and thank you...