I was in class yesterday. To the left of my desk through the window is this little green area with rows of young trees and paths on either side. The students can be seen passing by on the way to and the way from their lectures and classes. Yesterday was a very cold day by Cork standards. Temperatures dropped below zero and there were little snow showers every now and then. It was freezing.
In class, I try not to be distracted by the passersby, but when I saw this old lady approaching, dragging her bag behind her, I could not help but notice.
This woman is familiar to me. She lives near my parents. She is a colourful character; loud and brash, sometimes even vulgar and abusive. One time, while driving I had to suddenly swerve to avoid hitting her. She was in the centre of the road shouting at the oncoming traffic. My wife, one time taking the bus, was verbally abused by her for no apparent reason.
She lives alone in a small house, overgrown with shrubbery. Callers to her door are treated with great suspicion. Stories of her chasing these callers with a stick from her door are heard with frequency.
She appears to inhabit a different world to others, or perhaps better said, she appears to have a different perception of the world to others. She shouts accusations at strangers. She is a source of ridicule for many. I have once or twice tried to engage with her, but impenetrable she is; locked in her own world.
However, she is brave and determined. Whenever I see her, her head is high, facing it all.