Another hotel shuttle bus to another airport.  Crowded, with a chatty Southwest Airlines crew in late afternoon California sunshine.  Vietnamese driver loading bags in the racks.   Performing triage – “What airline?” – to plan the terminal stops.

We pulled  into traffic.  Only five miles to the airport, but traffic was stop-and-go as people headed home.  There was a cadence of chatter around me from the crew “I called your room four times…”, “It broke off, and dropped right on my head…”, “…all OVER the room…”.  Booming laughter from the Captain in the back of the bus…

We were stuck in near gridlock at a busy intersection.  She was standing alone at a bus stop.  Thirty-something, maybe Asian, maybe Hispanic.  That magical California hybrid of indeterminate origins… The sunlight hit her face, and it shone.  Tears.  She covered her face in her hands, shoulders caved, body defeated.  

Jeans, navy blue hoodie.  Long, dark hair gathered in a casual scramble on the back of her head.  Looking up.  Lost.  Face of quiet despair.  Eyes pleading, skyward.  No sign of a bus.  She saw me watching her, and turned her back, perhaps embarrassed.  i looked away.  Respecting her privacy.

The shuttle bus lumbered forward, and i once again heard the chatter of the flight crew – a continuing fugue in many parts.  “How are you going to work the holiday?”, “…guy was such an asshole…”, “…found it at Macy’s at Union Square….”. 

Wondering about her.  Wondering what hurt her.  Wondering how it would turn out.  Wondering if she saw the mirrored sadness on my face, and perhaps turned away to respect my private moment.


11 thoughts on “mirrors

  1. Sometimes the best parts of life are those shared intimate moments with strangers.

    Like the couple I once saw, holding hands at a table in a coffee shop, obviously deeply in love. Their cups of coffee between them. He saw me looking and, with his 80+ year old eye, he winked at me.

  2. Were you taking notes on the bus? This looks similar to some journal-type notes I made once on a long drive from Austin to Ocala, Florida. And of course, there was a song. Did you write a song to go with it? My chor us went like this: Ocala bound, Ocala bound. We’re hauling ass around the Gulf cuz we’re Ocala bound. See? The journal just isn’t the same without some music.

  3. uncle keith – that pretty much cures anything, don’t it?

    archie – beautiful! absolutely beautiful!

    unbearable banishment – yesterday afternoon? it was me and a sweet woman near the SFO Hyatt…

    dolce – but only when we’re paying attention. it always makes me feel so much more human. not always better, but definitely more human…

    silverstar – thank you. i am completely incapable of writing fiction. i’ve tried…

    gnu – ‘slice of humanity’? ‘view from a shuttle bus’? thanks… hoarked up in about 5 minutes before i went to my meeting this morning… the less i think about it, the more ‘hoarked’ it is…

    amber – (sigh) some of the same crap you’ve been dealing with, girlfriend… not a babyhead, but a ‘babyhead’…

    fragrant liar – no music. no journal. just a moment that got stuck in my head, until i had to hack it up to get it out before i went to work today. have never been able to write music…. not for lack of trying, though.

    rob – thanks. some days are just like that…

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