Same route, different thoughts

I took the same route back to my parked car today as I did last Monday afternoon: through the Common, down Charles Street, and across the Longfellow Bridge back to Kendall Square from Park Street.

This time, I took my own photo.

on Longfellow Bridge, nearing Cambridge, today at 4:45pm

I met no strangers on the bridge, but I did walk by many of them. One smiled.

On my walk, I thought for almost the whole time about the power of the words, “I’m sorry.” My shift on the GLAD Legal InfoLine was busy today. Lots of calls. So many of the calls I get have to do with gay marriage or immigration issues. Once in a while there is one that has to do with crime, and the caller as victim of one. Today there were two.

To one fellow, after he had told me a long yet coherent story about being beaten, I said, “I’m so sorry that happened to you. It sounds very upsetting.” Until that moment, his voice had been measured and regular, sort of like the tone of voice a friend would use as you sat together at a coffee shop and discussed an incident that had happened to a third friend.

His voice broke. “It was.” That was all he said. I could hear the loosening inside him. I felt loosened myself, not crying but as though I could.

I got practical again and made some suggestions. He rallied. I’d like to think we both felt as though we were moving forward in solving a problem and that it seemed, for the moment, better.

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