And the life-sized baby doll was cradled in her lap, its head resting on the steering wheel. I know this sounds creepy, but it gets even creepier.

Waiting at a traffic light, listening to Pandora, my son in the backseat playing Pokémon, I glance to my left for a brief moment. On second look, I say to my son, “That woman has a doll in her lap.”

She was about thirty-something, dark hair and glasses. She was alone; the passenger seat empty. And she appeared normal enough.

My son replies, “Oh yeah, I see her.” He doesn’t sound alarmed, phased, or the least bit interested.

“Son,” I repeat. “That woman has a baby doll and she’s putting a pacifier in its mouth! Are you seeing this?”

He doesn’t answer. I suppose he’s zoning out on Pokémon, so I continue to watch the woman without narrating.

Her four-door sedan, a light color, silver maybe pale blue, was to my left and just a smidge ahead of us, so she couldn’t see me watching her. Now, that I’m thinking about it, I don’t know what’s creepier: Her pretending to wipe invisible tears away from the baby doll’s cheeks, or my stalker-like eavesdropping. Hmm.

Okay, well anyhow, in my mind I’m thinking: Maybe she’s bringing the doll home to her daughter. It’s a gift. She’s reminiscing about the sweet ol’ days when she used to play dress-up with her dolls, and with her sisters.

At this thought, my mind relaxes a little.

BTW…this was a very long traffic light.

So, get this. The traffic light turns green and this woman lifts the baby doll and tenderly kisses the top of its smooth porcelain-looking head! While I’m moving slowly beside her vehicle, I see her clutching the doll to her chest while she drives along.

I drive the rest of the way home feeling sad for this woman. Who is she? Why is she alone with only a little doll for company? Why did she put a pacifier in its mouth? Why did she wipe fake tears away from its eyes? Why did she kiss the top of its head and clutch it to her chest?

What has gone wrong in this woman’s life!?

All right, so the storyteller in me couldn’t let this go. I just arrived home after a long day, and all I can do is think about this woman. There’s definitely a story here, but only the woman in the silver/blue car knows the truth of it.

All I can do now is keep guessing, but I chose to believe it wasn’t creepy. It was just a sweet reminiscing of childhood. That’s a better version. The other version is too sad to think about.