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08 July 2009 @ 03:15 pm
Theatrical Muse: Week 290: Question 290  
Name: Dr. Sid Hammerback

Fandom: CSI: New York

Word Count: 782


You pass a complete stranger on the street and notice they are crying. What do you do?


Sid found the woman outside a baby supply store, eyes brimming with tears, throat whimpering with obvious pain, or regret, or both. The store was the king that sold clothing and nappies in bulk, as well as the latest trendy prams and cots, the kind of thing he had long since thrown out, and not just because his children had grown up, although he still had kept a few items. He glanced at his watch, but his feet had already decided as he steered himself off a busy footpath at lunchtime, and sidled up to the woman’s side. He gathered her in gentle arms and held her as she looked, taller than her body by a good bit, able to encompass the complete stranger in his dangly, hand ended appendages without so much as a complaint. Need fitted into comfort, as his mother had sometimes said when he was down as a child, and she had hugged him to cheer him up.

Having said not a sparse or a bountiful word to each other, when she gave indication he lead the woman down the street, sat her at a small cafe and ordered two cups of jet black coffee. Sitting down with the mugs and a cookie he broke it and offered her half silently, and so they sat there, like two cheeky children sharing a forbidden fruity snack, the sharing of emotions continuing in their conversation already replete with silence.

“Christopher was eight, Michael was four. It gets easier.” the Medical Examiner said once they had eaten and drunk little, and it was then her turn to eye him quizzically, with the expression of disbelief and needing for similarity that he had come to associate with so many victims of lost love.

“My husband died, we were going to call her Mary.” the woman blurted, and the man continued to watch her, knowing how her thoughts must be racing, knowing how her mind must have reverted back to the most basic of human instincts, to speak of what was most troubling without letting it make wholesome sense. He waited for her to go on, continually patient and eternal with his kindness.

“Died of, died of cancer. Mary, Mary she had something wrong with her, they said, they said I was lucky to keep her as long as I did!”

The woman’s voice rose a little in a vindictive warble, and Sid grasped her hand tightly under the table. That stilted conversation ended, they finished their drink, finished their secretive cookie and he lead her back, through trains and buses, back to his home, to a nice couch seat and an offer of dinner between needing, lonely strangers, for what any of such action was worth. The pair talked over dinner, the woman silent now, content to mostly let him finish his story, which was, in his domain, a little bit longer than what she had offered since they had left the cafe.

“My wife was Marianne, not French, just red haired and unusual. We had our children, look, here they are.”

He pulled out his wallet and showed her old family photographs, young boys with older parents, and all smiles. His hands flickered the knife along the row of beans, topping and tailing, evening them up and then into thirds.

“Had them later in life. She worked in the World Trade Centre, higher up, nearer to where the planes hit than some.”

Carrots fell into perfect circles and onions into miniature flat rectangles. In a bit, during a bout of silence, garlic spiced the air and oil sizzled in a frying pan.

“It was a little office thing, a little thing to show the kids what work was like.” Sid said, and smiled, suddenly fond and unusually warm.

“We were older than most parents, and no respecting older child really wants to come and do office work. But Chris and Mike were young enough to still see it as an adventure. I’m pretty sure, they may have been the only, ones, the only, children, there. I’m not really sure.”

There was a lot more silence after that, but he had made it clear, in the few snippets of conversation they shared before dinner was served, that his empty house, was truly empty, and the woman, gave much the same story of her own home.


When they mourned together between the bed sheets, he made her cheerful not because he preyed on the down and out, the sad and missing of love. He cheered her up through nipping ministrations, because they both needed cheer, and because they could both provide each other with cheer, all other circumstances, histories, futures and conversations, excused.
 
 
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