Monday, February 25, 2013

Old Man at the Bus Stop

I've been feeling nostalgic lately. I'm trying to remember the names and faces of everyone I have ever met. Some of the names and faces come easily, while others require some deep, intellectual thought.

I've been thinking about the time I spent in Germany. I was 17 years old, emotionally scarred and scared shitless about what life events would transpire back at home while I was away. Turns out it didn't matter what happened at home, because there was always something going on in my present-day life.

Unfortunately, I didn't come to this realization until just recently. I've always outwardly not given a shit about how people judge me, but deep inside the fluffy cream filling that is my heart, it was hard to let go of that. Why? Maybe I'll never know.

Anyway, being as nostalgic as I am right now, I went and found my old journal from when I lived in Mettmann, Deutschland. I just glanced through it, and landed on this piece, specifically, the last two paragraphs. It hit home. Funny thing is, I was married 6 years later. Strange.

Things feel out of sorts right now, but there is always something going on in present-day life that needs your attention. I am glad I am not obsessing over missing out on all the greatness that is Minnesota these days. I just wish I had someone to talk to.

The way he lifted his cigarette to his mouth, all slow and dignified, one could have mistaken him for royalty. Could have, except for the fact that he was dressed in last week's clothes, his hair uncombed, and he had a bag of fruit in his other hand that didn't look too fresh. His face was round and wrinkled from years of hard work. One could almost feel the pain in his knees and lower back just by seeing how he stood against the bus stop. Leaning on his left shoulder, slouched with his knees slightly bent.

It was a terribly hot day, but he seemed content wearing longs pants and a heavy sweater. Then my bus came and he got on, too. As I took my seat, I heard him labor into his behind me. Breathing heavily and fanning himself with his chubby hand. I couldn't stop myself from gagging, for he smelled of cigarettes and rotten milk. I had to put my head in my arms to escape the smell.

The bus bumped along, making frequent stops to let mothers and their children on, and business folk off, then they hurried back to work. If it hadn't been for the suddenly fresh air, I would have never seen him leave. I looked up from my sun-kissed arms in time to see him waddle off the bus and stand on the sidewalk for a moment or two before walking, very slowly, up the pavement to a rusty gate. I'm guessing this was his home.

The bus pulled away from the curb and he disappeared from sight.

I sat in my seat enjoying the warm but clean air. I let my thoughts drift for a few minutes, but I couldn't stop myself from thinking about the strange king I had encountered only minutes before. There he was, living what could possibly be the last days of his life. Had he ever experienced love? Hate? Did he have someone to go home to? Or was it just the bees that buzzed around the spring freshness of the flowers?

It made me think about my life and what I have done, who I have loved and hated, where i have been. It made me think about where I will go and what I will do. I can't say that in 4 days I will be happy or that in 6 years I will be married. All I can say is that I'll try. I will try to be happy and if I feel like it I will try to find love.

Maybe someday I'll be in his shoes and someone will write about me. I don't know right now and maybe I never will.

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