Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Many years ago I worked with a woman named Lucy. She was Spanish and her ability to speak/understand English wasn't great. She was a sweet person and we became friends - as I was initially taken by her kind nature and determination to learn English so she could get a good job to take care of her children. (I don't think she was married.) I drove her home on one or two occasions, (I don't think she had a car) and from what I can remember, she was either living in or staying with someone who lived in public housing. She invited me into her house- a Christmas tree filled with lights illuminated the living room...
This was at a time in my life when I was very self-absorbed and unfortunately, I grew impatient and annoyed at the language barrier between us and I stopped being Lucy's friend. I remember us going out to dinner and my not wanting to be there because her limited language skills kept her talking about the same subjects over and over. I just wanted to take her home. When she left the job where we had been working, I was actually glad. She'd call me once or twice more after that and I'd always have an excuse for not being able to talk. Thinking back on this behavior makes me feel sick because I lacked, well... everything. Empathy, grace, compassion.... Ugh.
I know that sometimes I can be really hard on myself and time may have exaggerated the events and my actual behavior, but all I know is that whenever I pass the area where she used to live, I feel embarrassed by how I remember treating her. She was never anything but kind to me and after the novelty of our friendship wore off, I treated her like an inconvenience.
I don't remember her last name or anyone who might have known her so I haven't a clue where she might be- and if I bumped right into her right now, I'm not even sure I'd remember what she looked like.
Lucy wherever you are, I'm really very sorry. I hope you may forgive me.