If she had to name it, Sarah felt lonely. Plain and simple. You could drop her in the middle of a busy street in a bustling metropolis, cars zooming back and forth, honking their horns, and everywhere people walking. A veritable sea of people of all shapes, sizes and colors could swallow her, and she would still be her own solitary island.
That’s how it had always been for her. It didn’t matter how many bodies were near her. No one ever got close… and she didn’t know how to approach others. She always shuffled along with the human tide, anonymous and quiet. The little details around the city where her brief escape from the overwhelming solitude.
She would walk to work when the streets were already full of the morning shift crowds, yet she loved gazing at the skyscraper windows. They mirrored the sky no one else cared to look up at. Azure blue with pure white clouds, if she was lucky there would even be birds flying about.
Sarah felt an odd kinship with the mannequins on display at the retail windows from the shops downtown. Mute, posing, they dressed up, but never interacted with anyone, just pretended to, until the season changed and their clothes.
Her mood would usually turn a bit brighter when she passed by an outdoor fruit market just a few blocks from the office she worked at. The vendors calling out to people, putting out their best produce in creative arrangements; if you were lucky, you could get a free slice of honeydew melon.
It was on a batch of strawberries where she saw the sparrow trapped. It’s leg caught between boxes of strawberries. With care, Sarah lifted the box that had trapped the bird and off it went flying.
“Ah, I just got those the other day from the farm! Fresh and sweet, I’ll sell them cheap!”, an older woman wearing an apron and a Led Zeppelin tee approached from behind the stall. Sarah was starting to decline but then stopped to think about it for a brief moment.
“Give me two boxes, please. I’m treating myself today.”