As I sit at my home desk writing a column, there is a young man weeping on the front porch of my building. It is almost directly under my first-floor window. Just the sound of his choked cries almost had me breaking down myself, so I went to the window to see if it was a situation that I could help with. All I can see from my angle is the young man with a young woman, their backs to me.

Over and over he keeps saying “Why did you do this to me?” and “I can’t believe how much this hurts” and “I can’t even look at other girls.” He is telling her that what he will miss the most is not talking to her every day. She is mostly silent.

It is breaking my heart in a hundred places to hear his fresh pain. Oh my God. After a particularly coarse week in my own life, this is torturous.

Last week, on the very same porch, a little girl who appeared to be about 4 years old was crying. Again, I was at my desk working. What was so bothersome was her pleas to her mother to speak to her, “Please, Mommy, please stop ignoring me. Please, Mommy, talk to me. Please.” Loud sobbing in between. The mother was silent.

An outsider, I didn’t want to assume anything or judge the mother’s actions. All I knew was the child’s plaintive cries were my undoing. She sounded so devastated. Eyes welling, I got up and closed the window. Unfortunately, the mother heard it and loudly told the girl, “They probably heard you crying. The person who lives there is the devil. A monster.”

Actually, the person who lives here is thinking that her front porch has a message for her. Something about her expanded heart.