The look in her eyes said it all...the eyes red, slightly puffy. Glossy irises, dilated pupils, wet-rimmed eyelids; upper and lower. My heart immediately panged. I've felt that pain before. The kind that makes an otherwise strong-willed, determined woman, cower to the pull of emotions.
This young woman in her early 20's made an impression from the moment I met her. She has an air of confidence that doesn't seem so much ego-driven, as it seems a thirst for knowledge that she believes will guarantee her a better future. In the short time we've known each other, I've learned that she is a young mother. She's not a native to this city and she lives here without any family. Reference has been made to a past relationship.
Every week she's late at least 30 minutes. She always texts to let me know. Certainly I can't let that go without some sort of repercussion; however, I can't help but accept that this is her pattern. This is her life. An air of determination looms around her as her inquisitive nature asks question, interjects comments and thoughts, provides rationale for her initial thoughts or lack of knowledge. Not afraid to admit she doesn't know or she might be wrong. Happy when she is right.
I inquired of her well-being when she first arrived. She admitted she was having a tough morning but not to worry, she was here to learn and complete her midterm. I respected her wishes and didn't push further. I could relate in some odd way. Three hours later, she had completed her midterm. A successful presentation of research conducted on a successful business leader. She dove into the assignment, complete with it a week earlier than it was due. Determination shining through. Learning clearly evident.
Wide-eyed and proud, the tears no longer evident. The redness gone. A smile on her face. The look in her eyes said it all.