I met a woman named Alice today. There was something about her, something familiar. I felt like I knew her. Questions of who she could be ran through my mind. “Where do I know you from?” “Maybe you're from my home town?” “Or maybe we went to school together?” As I studied her face, a faded recollection started to take shape. I did know this woman. This was Alice. The one I had read about when I was child. Only this wasn't the girl I used to know. Her hair was thin and dull, no longer the golden locks that used to shine like the sun. Her eyes still blue like the sea, which once held the soul of a dreamer, had lost their clarity. Her face, once so fair and fresh had been covered in layer of soil. A body void of youth, her nails had turned yellow. Her feet bare and cut from the roughness of the ground. This soul had become lost, one who was forgotten by the world.
At first she only stared at me. Her gaze met mine with a since of desperation. Her hands pressed to either side of her head. She wanted to speak, to connect, to reach out. But her words struggled against her lips. A thought would begin to emerge and quickly disappear. Sinking like quicksand within her. I asked her if she needed help. If I could call someone for her. In that moment the fog that had kept her so silent and confused, so voiceless, it cleared. Like a flood, her voice carried a rush of confusion. Broken sentences of regret and apologies. “Do you know where he is?” she asked. “Tell him I'm sorry.”
Without thinking my mouth said “I will.” She froze and let out a deep exhale. That sigh carried with it a feeling of such relief, to finally be heard. Alice went on to speak of a world with magic herbs and powerful potions. “I didn't realize” she cried. “This world was not what it seemed, I got stuck and I couldn't find him, the white rabbit lied. He said he'd make it stop. I want to make it stop. Can you make it stop?” I tried to console Alice as best I could, to get close enough to comfort but not close enough to connect. The more I did this, the more Alice revealed. Talks of a red queen and how she was banished from wonderland.
It was then that I knew Alice needed something very basic. Something every human being needs. To be listened to. We talked of second chances and starting over. I accepted her apology and forgave her mistakes. I let her in and gave her my attention. I will never forget the color of her eyes or how deeply she needed to connect to another person here on earth. To be seen among the living.
There are many people that have been lost to some form of addiction or mental illness. Many of them women. We see them everyday on the streets of the city we call our home. I've never seen Alice before today and I'll probably never see her again. In fact, I do not know her real name. But I got to truly be there for her in a moment of great need. It was random and rare. She will stay with me and I hope I with her. I hope she knows she is not forgotten. I hope she'll find her way out of Wonderland and back to the land of the living.