Sum Total Characters

I was out getting construction supplies this weekend, sitting in my folks' big 16 foot box van. It's one of those ones where you sit on the engine and the front of it is all flat glass and bumper so you get a really good view of the road (and your impending doom should you run into the back of a semi).  

While I sat at a stop light I looked out on a woman crossing the road in front of me. She walked a shiny Walmart mountain bike that didn't really go with the men's jeans she was wearing. The bike fit her, being for a child and she about the height of a junior high student. Her hair, probably capable of great things in her youth, was left wild and frizzy, shocks of white tearing through it like a ghost trying to escape a grave. There might have been a crook to her bulbous nose though I couldn't really say for sure. Maybe it was that faded black t-shirt that she wore like a teenage grunge boy that made me think it should be crooked.

As she passed I couldn't help but wonder what had gone wrong in her life. Who might have abused her, touched her, used her, pushed her around and left that sneer on her face. Lovers, mothers, fathers, uncles?

And then I thought, “Does she know?”

Does she think of those things and how they effect her? How those experiences make her decisions for her? How many of us really do?

Just a thought.

We are all the sum total of our experiences. Those experiences mold us into who we are, but we rarely think of them. Even our characters are nothing more than experiences. And we should bear in mind that they don't always realize that they manipulate their actions.


Mellow Dee said...

Heavy thoughts in this one, dear man. I love the description, but am nonetheless left feeling somehow bereft on her behalf. You've always had amazing insight into people and their motivations, at times when you know next to nothing about them. It saddens me that your imagined life for her may be all too accurate.

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