I asked the wrong question.
I’d shown up for the conversation, willing to participate in the give and take, but backed off because of the direction we were going in.
I sensed that we were approaching difficult terrain, so I switched gears, causing the forward motion of our discourse to stutter and stall.
Awkward pauses when I saw where she was headed.
Much too bumpy a road for me.
Too sensitive a topic to maneuver – so I bailed.
Instead of asking the questions that may have lessened the load she carried, I kept things light.
I refused to dig in and meet her where she was.
Where she had not been just visiting, but living.
Residing in secrets cloaked in bright smiles and broad daylight.
And I felt it.
And I said nothing.
Perhaps for fear of seeing just how dark her darkness was.
Perhaps it brought me too close to my own struggle.
Perhaps it was the time it would take to get to the point.
Long journeys are difficult for impatient souls like mine.
I tend to ask “are we there yet?”
I lacked the time, or maybe it was the intention to ask the questions that she needed.
I kept it simple.
I asked about the weather.