A girl sat on the bench, in a park, and cried. No one stopped, no one asked, no one cared.
A woman sat down next to her, "Why are you crying?"
"Because I cannot stop myself," the girl looked at the woman who had stopped, the woman who had asked, the woman who had finally cared.
"There has to be a reason for that, however subtle," the woman said, pulling out a handkerchief and passing it to the girl.
"Thanks," the girl tried to wipe her face. "I guess I am crying because I got dumped."
"That is often a legitimate reason to cry," the woman said, looking out at the park. "Sometimes it is a good reason to celebrate, but not in your case I guess."
"Yeah," the girl tried to smile, but tears continued to run down her face. "Not in my case."
"Do you mind if I ask why you are crying in public?" the woman looked back at her.
"No, I don't mind," the girl said, trying to smile again, tears still flowing. "Go ahead."
"Why are you crying here, in public?" the woman asked, smiling at the joke and not the situation.
"Because I don't want to go home, I don't want to leave this place," the girl said, looking at the woman and wondering if she should continue. "I am crying here because this is where she dumped me, and I feel like, if I leave, it makes it more real."
"She?" the woman reappraised the girl.
"Yeah," the girl reappraised the woman. "Is that a problem?"
"Of course not, it just took me by surprise," the woman said. "I thought you were moping about some boy, I don't really know why moping about some girl would make a difference."
"Probably because I am only seventeen," the girl said, wiping her eyes as the tears finally stopped.
"I think it is that you are young," the woman said, almost to herself. "I always think that something like that strikes you when you are older."
"That is because of society and stuff, people don't realise it," the girl said, sitting up straighter.
"What about you then?" the woman asked.
"I don't believe in peer pressure, or in societal influence," the girl said.
"You obviously believe in it, I think it is just that you don't buy into it," the woman said, unthinking. "Sorry, I make corrections like that all the time."
"Don't worry about it," the girl wiped her eyes again. "You are right about it anyway."
"I like being right," the woman said, smiling vaguely. "Sorry. Why did you two break up? If that isn't a bad question."
"It is a bad question, but I will answer it anyway," the girl said. "We broke up because she decided she didn't like girls anymore."
"It was a bad question," the woman said. "I had a boyfriend that broke up with me because he liked men, it was when I was nineteen."
"You don't seem much older than that," the girl replied. "I think that you could only be twenty years old, and that it is still fresh, or you wouldn't bring it up."
"I am twenty-one," the woman said. "And I brought it up because I wanted you to know that I am not just a random stranger who has no idea what you are going through. I am a random stranger who knows what you are talking about."
"Ok," the girl looked sceptical. "Whatever you say."
"I am your elder, and therefore I know better," the woman laughed and stood up.
"Where are you going?" The girl said, looking insecure.
"I am going to get some lunch," the woman replied, raising an eyebrow. "You can come if you want, if you don't think people would frown upon it."
"I don't care what people frown upon," the girl told the woman, standing.
The woman didn't correct this, she just smiled.