I hopped on the blue line to make my way back from a President's Day parade in Alexandria. A beautiful woman with long, dark hair and dark eyes had her arms wrapped around her children: The black-eyed boy was about five, the brown-eyed girl about three.
The woman wasn't wearing a wedding ring, nor did her finger show the tanless indention indicating one had been there recently. I smiled. She smiled back. I made small talk for a second about her kids, who had tired of sitting and -- despite their mom's wishes -- were exploring the Metro train. We traded smiles again when she blew bangs away from her eyes and pulled the kids back to her.
The woman was so gentle with her energetic children. So loving. She wrapped her daughter's blond hair into a ponytail -- something the girl was quite fond of. She tucked in her boy's shirt. She explained with each passing station that no, it wasn't their stop. It was still time to sit there with her.
I was, to be honest, transfixed. Enamored.
The train chugged along for a few stops and I got lost in my people-watching ruminations. I wondered what might have caused her apparent divorce. I wondered where she was going. I was looking a little disheveled after traipsing around Alexandria but I wondered if I should strike up a conversation. Perhaps we'll get off at the same stop, I hoped.
The train came to a grinding halt at the next stop. The beautiful woman took a deep breath, grabbed her children by their hands, and was gone from my view and my life in a flash.
I looked up, saw where we were, and wretched.
Then the blue line pulled away from Arlington National Cemetery.