There's little about the world around you that you pay attention to when your blood sugar is low. A public space can diseappear quickly. People milling about, fast movements, babies crying, gossip amongst friends, or a fantastically coloured dress all cease to exist when you're in the realm of your low. You don't have the concentration to see separate objects, and noise mutes and dulls.
I was low today (thanks, Summer) at my local shopping centre. My foggy brain managed to distinguish an empty table that I could sit at and quietly drink my juice. It was a knockout low. I was glad for the table because breathing was difficult and my legs had gone past jelly stage and seemed to made of vapour; I couldn't imagine how they would support me at all.
As I sat and sculled my juice, a lady in her early 60's motioned to the other chair on my table. I had no idea what she wanted but I just nodded anyway. I didn't care, so long as I could drink my juice. She sat down next to me, plonking her bag heavily onto the floor beside her feet, A plastic cup in front of her. I could smell the coke in the cup, fizzing away.
Minutes passed in silence. I recovered from my hypo. I re-entered the world and began to pay attention to the lady who was had sat down opposite me. Her shoulder-length, slightly greying blonde hair was mussed. Her eyes were tired, and lips were tight as she rubbed them against each other. She was hunched over, and paying no attention to my stares.
In a beautiful moment I understood, as her hands rubbed over her face and she made a soft little groan of discomfort. I had been there with her, moments before, in that closed-off space. She sipped her cup of coke in the same way I drink soft drink when I'm low. When you need to swallow quickly, but the bubbles get up your nose, and the experience is unpleasant. The pursed lips and look of disgust written on a crinkled nose and squinting eyes as you force liquid you don't want into your body.
I stayed and waited. Her back straightened out and her hands ceased their repetitive rubbing of her face to rise up and smooth her hair down. Her eyes opened up, brighter and her the tension had left her cheeks. In silence, I checked my blood sugar. She didn't flinch at the blood that welled up from my finger tip. She offered a smile instead, and asked if I was feeling alright. I nodded and asked her the same. We gathered our things and left in opposite directions.
The whole drive home, I couldn't stop thinking about what a beautiful, surreal encounter it had been. The chance we had had to share that lonely, dark space that a hypo occupies and to feel understood.