Morning: Breath of release. Or maybe, a slow inhalation, filling the lungs of the sky with apricot tones. A melody of periwinkle, the favorite dress of your childhood neighbor, an aunt. A rumbling interrupts this quietude, reminding that movement is nearly upon us. Lilac reflection dissolves, giving way to the punctuation of beginning. Or maybe, continuation.
The sunrise faded into the familiar haze of the day. She pocketed a hand, smiling to herself. The woman possessed a magnificent smile, one that illuminated the faces around her with the same radiance that she had originally intended. A party trick, perhaps. She rose from where she sat on the overly-varnished bench. Bus #31 slowed to a stop before her. Alone, she mounted the raised step to the disjointed train car. This step always seemed to be a different height. Consistency was important to her. Inside the bus: an elderly woman, balancing a white-plastic pulling cart on its disjointed wheels. The wheels were reminiscent of her eyes, attached too poorly to keep them from staring deep into the thoughts of others. More deeply than they would have liked; a widow’s gaze. Her leathery skin was worn by the sun, either from tanning beneath the glow of the sun, or from the labor with which she kept herself afloat. The lady’s hands were brittle, thinly frosted window panes against the harsh winter of perpetuity. They had been calloused from the hours spent beneath scorching faucets. Washing and re-washing the flatware, even before getting muddied by gathering. When she had finished placing the wet plates on the faded steel rack, she returned again to the first one, re-washing, re-rinsing, re-placing. They weren’t dirty, but what else was there for her?
Widow: Water streaks on those champagne glasses, like rings in a tree trunk, remind of each day spent alone. A wedding gift from a relative, never really welcomed at the celebration to begin with. There were far too many of these eddies of unquenched sorrows to ever serve a real purpose. The nicest things she owned, rudely juxtaposed against a background of faded floral upholstery and unintentionally exposed brick.
The far right window spot: a girl gazes upon the unmoving landscape. One headphone in her ear, one she fiddles with in her lap. Her leg taps quickly on the floor, but not in rhythm with the song she listens to. She has an unexplainable pain in the nape of her neck and no matter how much she sleeps, she is tired. With her she carries a purse full of Advil and loose change, and a book she has no intention of reading. She spends much of her time trying to decipher who it is that she is supposed to be.
Identity: She stumbles through grogginess into her bathroom and, as she turns to the sink, the face that greets her belongs to a person that she has seen every day since she has been tall enough to look in the mirror, yet somehow, reflects a stranger. “I have no idea who you are,” she thinks in the general direction of nothing at all in that empty bathroom every morning.
The driver of the bus: a round man, not quite old enough to be middle-aged, not quite young enough to belong to any of the truly notable generations. Too old to dream, too young to die. He attempts to conceal his aged hairline with a cap, but once removed, an almost tonsure-shaped bald spot appears. Something his mother would have been pleased by. Despite his involuntary haircut, the man believed himself to be a fair weather Christian--only religious at his convenience. In this way he was the black sheep of the family. His brother was a priest and his father attributed his misfortunes to a vengeful god. However, the driver, too was a sort of chaplain.
Another Type of Priest: He does not consider himself devout, yet he joins his passengers in prayer. Together they recite mantras of safe travel and joyful days. They do not know that they share this. He leads the strangers in their ritualistic comings and goings of the day. The days that never change.
The woman with the infectious smile finishes counting out her change for the priest-of-a-bus-driver in front of her. Even though the charge to ride never changes, she forgets. In this way she is like the old widow, forgetful. She makes her way to the back of the bus, sits a couple of rows behind the directionless girl. The woman feels more comfortable when there is no one behind her. Once she is seated, bus #31 tumbles back onto the uneven road, freckled with potholes that will never be fixed. The day continues on.
Sonder: The realization that all other individuals have as much of a complex reality as ourselves; something we experience independently, together.