Today I was walking from class to office hours, taking stairs two at a time as I usually do, and looking around to see if I was going to pass anyone I know.
At the top of the (outdoor) staircase, heading the other way, was a girl with a face I really have to describe as “crumpled”. Seriously, she looked like she had just been crushed, though about what I have no idea.
It occurred to me to turn around and say hello, what’s wrong…something. Which manifested itself only as a catch in my step after we had already passed. It’s easy to rationalize it: I’m a total stranger. I’d be more likely to creep her out than actually make her feel better. On top of that, she was very clearly heading somewhere despite how sad she looked. If I was late for class, I wouldn’t wanted to be accosted by a stranger for whatever reason. I kept walking.
But…my friend made this movie for Campus MovieFest this year: Wake. About a minute in, the protagonist passes a girl crying outside a building, as people walk past on their way to class. And later, he sees someone come over to comfort her. It’s part of a redemption sequence…actually, you should just watch it, cause it’s pretty beautifully structured. (It was one of the top 16 at Berkeley!)
I can’t help but feel that, whatever “Wake” says, the first set of scenes are a lot more common than the second. So this has been one of my “what would happen” situations for a while.
If they’re going to class, maybe not. If I’m going to class…I don’t think I’m that good of a person. But if I’m heading home, and there’s a stranger sitting there crying…one of these days, I will stop and ask what’s wrong.