by Spencer Bucolo
Walking around town today, I saw a woman screaming.
She was yelling as she made her way down the sidewalk that was cutting across a park in downtown Waikiki, which is in Honolulu.
She yelled at no one in particular, yet seemed to be yelling at everything.
Loud, scary, guttural sounds. Inconsolable devastated sadness – and a rage, which knew nothing of rest – not counting in between breaths.
And she kept on yelling. Despite the looks and murmurs of passersby. And despite the stress her vocal cords were obviously being put through, she kept yelling.
Screaming expletives, she yelled to the left and to the right, spun around to face behind her and yelled some more, and then faced the front again resuming her walk, yelling at absolutely nobody.
She stopped in front of a monument raised up on a concrete pedestal – a statue of Mahatma Gandhi, still screaming.
She pulled her stained and dirty sweat pants down to her knees – still yelling, and squatted low, yelling in bursts before they become long and drawn out, heaving screams.
When she’s done, she pulls her pants back up to her hips and continues walking down the sidewalk but now, she’s silent. And makes no noise as she walks. And casually looks through the garbage cans at the end of the park, before I lose sight of her.
I see her again a little while later, this time on a city block.
She’s laying on the curb of the sidewalk with her back towards the people walking by, and they don’t give her a second glance. She’s just another bum.
As I pass by, I notice her eyes are closed – and she’s cradling an empty Styrofoam cup close to her chest.
Looking at her there, laying on the curb, I remember thinking how still she looked.
I’m not sure she was breathing.