After some back and forth, she gave up, grabbed her paperwork and the child's hand and rushed out. In her face, her body language and in how she interacted with the woman at the counter, I saw myself as I was for ten years. No one had held up a mirror to me and shown me how odd I appeared to the world at large. I repeated myself often, fearing that I would not be heard or understood. I assumed the victim position in most transactions and came out of them feeling like one.
Like me, this woman (she would be about my age) was a desi abroad who may have valued freedom to live without social isolation over having immediate family around and a familiar cultural milieu to raise her child. She had traveled eight hours to make this appointment with a young child in tow. If there was a partner, they were not present in her life in a way that eased her troubles, more likely than not - there was not a partner. I did not find myself feeling sorry for her - it was not often that I felt sorry for myself when I was in her shoes. I could tell she had the strength and the confidence it took to overcome. There would be battle-scars that would like years to fade but she would not succumb to her circumstances.
In time, she would gain tranquility, she would smile more, relax in her interactions with the world. In time, the tide would turn and she would have the companion that could be there for her when it counted. Seeing myself as I had been heightened my appreciation for what I have in my life.