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.