Friday, December 02, 2005

Universal Sorrow

My husband and I stayed at the Crystal City Douubletree hotel one night this week. (We both left Iris across the continent to brief different agencies on the same day.) On our way out to dinner, I noticed a group of people sitting quietly in a circle of chairs in the lobby; most wore dark suits. I could not tear my eyes away from a woman slightly older than myself with very red puffy eyes. There was something about her face that is seared in my memory. Only when I passed her did I see the neat triangular bundle of an American flag lying on the table next to her chair. Crystal City is right next to Arlington cemetery.

In my impatient youth, I used to snicker whenever someone spoke as if motherhood gave them special insight. But, in my gut (and the flash of realization felt like a kick in the gut), I knew she was a mother that had just buried her child.

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