Sunday, August 09, 2009


BUS STORY # 145 (Portrait # 4: Elfin)


She’s a cutie.

Not exactly the word you’d expect to come to mind when describing a woman in her 70s.

She’s elfin, with a headful of short, gold-colored ringlets from either the beauty parlor or a good wig. Her movements are quick and sure.

But it’s really her eyes. They’re bright and alive, and they look everywhere, at everything and everybody. Her facial expressions mirror her interest in wherever those eyes alight.

When I first saw her, I thought “young for her age.” Now I’m thinking she’s simply free of a husband. She has no ring on her finger, and she has the spunkiness of a long-married then long-unmarried woman inhabiting the unfetteredness of the experience.

She even has a bit of unselfconscious bachelor eccentricity. I enjoy the way she stands up in her seat one or two stops from her own, her right hand on the pull cord and her left on the seat in front of her, peering out the windshield like Columbus looking for the Indies. And today, there’s a kneepad – just the one – sitting askew her right knee.

I’m looking at that kneepad and comes the lyric, “When are you free/To take some tea/With me?” Inquiring minds want to know about that kneepad!

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