Sunday, August 17, 2008

Could it be Brittney

Alongside the roads are small white crosses. Some with names and dates. Some with flowers, fresh and old. Each of them mean something to someone. There is one at the intersection of the main roads in our town. An accident had taken the life of a young man barely 19. These white crosses mostly represent loved ones who died where the cross was placed. There is another one near a local resort on a two lane road that is wooded on either side. The road is hilly and has limited visibility for cars turning onto it. There is a white cross at the bottom of one of those hills too. I have never stopped to read it, so I don't know what it says. Is it a man or woman, boy or girl? Were they in a car or walking? Young or old?
Recently I saw one such cross on the side of a highway we travel frequently. This highway is a state route with 6 lanes and a median. The traffic early morning and early evening is heavy. There are busstops along the way. Some businesses such as a fishing equipment store, a small local motel, produce market, gas stations, pool supply store, second hand clothing store and the like dot the sides of the highway. There is also a homeless shelter not far from the site where the cross was placed.
The cross...I caught the name on it as Brittney. It struck me that the cross is in just the place where I often would see a woman dressed all in black, with an umbrella, also black, walking or sitting alongside the road. With her it appeared was all of her belongings. She had long blonde hair in need of a hairdresser and a rugged complexion in need of a facial, typical for a Floridian who lived outdoors. You see I beleive she was homeless and I think her routine was to sit on a bench near a bustop on this road. I had heard that she walked that short stretch of road (I don't remember if she wore shoes or not. I hope so.) less than a mile in length during the day, dressed in a long black trench coat and using the umbrella to shield her from the hot sun, and at night stayed somewhere just off the highway, either in the woods, camping or in a motel or maybe in the shelter close by. I found myself watching for her each time I made the trip down this highway, wondering what her story is. Where is she from? How did she end up here on the side of the road? How old is she? Where is her family? Do they miss her?
Does anyone miss her?
Miss her?...I am not sure how long it had been since I had seen the woman in black alongside that stretch of highway, but I know that I did not see her after I first saw the cross in that spot where I often had seen her sitting. Each time I traveled that highway I watched for her and I realized that I missed seeing her. I wondered if other drivers noticed. The cars; big suvs, small compacts, Mercedes, BMWs, Lincolns, Mercury, Cheys, Fords, Mitsubishi, semi trailer trucks, panel trucks, deivery trucks, FedEx, DSL, UPS and all. Did any of them see or miss her?
Could it be Brittney?...Could the name on the cross represent the woman in black? I hadn't thought that Brittney fit as a name for the woman in black. It seemed to me that she would have been older than when the name was popular. Just my opinion. Maybe she was younger than I thought. The Florida sun and weather could have been responsible for aging her prematurely. But then, are the cross and the woman in black even connected? Just because there is a cross in a spot where I saw her and I haven't seen her there since the cross was placed, doesn't mean for certain that the two are connected.
Could it be Brittney?...Could it be and how would I find out?

Vivian Farley

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