This passage from Mavis Gallant's Spanish diary induced a sharp pang. What is sadness but the keen recognition of something that shouldn't have happened but did, anyways, despite the best intentions of ourselves or others? 28 and broke, Gallant is waiting for a cheque and writing without the typewriter she pawned to feed herself.
"Children playing in the dirt by the sidewalk, building something complex and important. Boys and girls. They pour water to make mud. No quarrels, the big ones tender with the babies. Suddenly a thin, nervous, shabby man approaches and shouts that they have no right to play in the street. He is unemployed, I guess from his dress and manner. The little girls run away but the boys go on building, stubborn and silent, and the man puts out his foot and rubs to a muddy ruin the beautiful complex city, the canals and bridges and boulevards. The little boys look at the ruin silently. No one cries or speaks or glances up, and the man walks off and sits on a bench."