Sarah walks every day to the bus; head low, shoulders slumped, thinking mundane thoughts.
“When is my cell bill due..I need to get peanut butter..almost out..and bread”
Closed off from everything but what is in her brown cardboard box of reality.
“What you doing?” He asks as she passes the park bench he’s claimed as his home.
Sarah doesn’t hear, Harry is not part of her world. He is on the outside. She walks on and catches her bus, same as every day.
Next day, it’s raining. Harry watches the deep puddles ripple with the drops and the birds bathing in the same way he did this very morning. He smiles, watching the silly people behaving like rain is a curse; hunched up shoulders, clutching their umbrellas like the last raft on the titanic.
Then the woman comes. She walks down the path in a yellow raincoat with small steps, no hurry, moving along on auto pilot.
“What are you doing? Wake up!” Harry yells at her in a strident tone. His voice projecting the same urgency of someone warning of an oncoming train to someone standing on the tracks.
Sarah startles out of her daze and stumbles off the path, directly into a large puddle. Her foot disappears just past the ankle and she lands in the muddy leaves with an “oof!”
“I didn’t mean for you to fall.” Harry says as he rushes forward to help her out of the mud. “Are you alright?”
Sarah stares at the harmless looking old man and nods. He helps her to his bench and notices that she has a slight limp.
“I am sorry.”
Sarah makes a frown and looks into his clouded blue eyes. “Why would you yell at me. I wasn’t hurting anyone.”
“It just seemed like someone should do something.”
“About me?” She says, confused.
“Yes.” Harry nods and smiles.
Sarah is still confused.
“You’ve missed your bus today. That’s a start. Care to sit with me a moment and watch the birds play.”
She turns to see her bus pulling away from the curb without her and slumps back into the bench.
“I suppose so.” She says, feeling bad for the obviously lonely man. “But I will need to go in ten minutes. I have to go home and change my shoes, then catch the next bus to the library in thirty minutes.”
“You’ve already got your plan set to get back on schedule, huh?”
“Yes.” She says, then laughs at two finches hopping over each other.
“Im Harry, by the way.” He says with an outstretched hand.
She daintily shakes his cold fingers, “Sarah”.
“Ya know, I used to be like you Sarah. I walked around with my eyes closed. Just letting my life blur past. Waiting for it to be over.”
“I’m not doing.. that.” Sarah says, not entirely believing her own words.
“I’ve seen you walk past everyday for the last two months. Did you see me? Did you notice the pregnant woman who passes you twice a week, now pushes a beautiful baby boy in a stroller? Did you realize that the young man who gets on the bus directly after you every Wednesday, looks like he wants nothing more than to chat with you but you never look his way?”
“No… Really? You’ve been sitting here for two months.”
“Well not straight through two months. My bum would be sore.” He jokes and gives her a nudge with his elbow. “I wake up, people watch and then see where my feet take me.”
“I couldn’t be so wild and carefree.” Sarah says softly, almost sad.
“It takes practice, and my life isn’t what’s right for you, it’s what’s right for me.”
“I get what you’re saying.”
“I’m glad. Now I’ll see you tomorrow, yes?”
Sarah smiles beautifully and nods yes.
“Good!.. Because you just missed your second bus.”
“What!” Sarah stands up quickly looking worried.
“Letting a bus or two pass you by isn’t the end of the world. Just don’t let your life do the same. See you tomorrow Sarah.”
“I’ll see you, Harry.”
via STRIDENT – Word of the day.
Art is mine. Did it super quick so its a bit sloppy. Does the job though. 😋