By Susan L. Lipson
He sits on a bench in the mall,
Unaware of my spying
From another bench, across the hallway lined with shops.
His gaze scorches a snapping, young mother
Who is berating her crying toddler,
Slapping her tiny hands as they grab at her mommy’s thighs,
Shushing the child as she begs to be picked up.
I see an invisible speech bubble above the watching man,
And in it the words: Pick up your baby, you ingrate!
Some of us would give anything to be blessed with a child!
You don’t deserve to be a mother!
Yes, I agree! I say to myself,
Missing my days with my crying toddlers,
Imagining myself sitting on the bench beside him,
Sharing our feelings,
Connecting with this stranger through our mutual love for children.
And then I hear him bellow from his bench
At the unappreciative mom:
“Can’t you make your kid shut up?!
Some of us are trying to enjoy a peaceful day here!”
Some of us.