Sunday, December 26, 2010

BUS STORY # 216 (Portrait # 10: Woman With Red Suitcases)

Luggage, originally uploaded by Jaypeg.

She’s obviously coming from the airport. She’s sitting on the bench seat behind the driver, with a rucksack on the seat beside her and two large, red suitcases on carriers blocking the remaining bench seats to her right and a significant portion of the aisle.

She’s an older woman, straight silver hair, “old lady” hands.

Old enough to be embarrassed that her bags are inconveniencing everyone who boards. If she were a few decades younger, this wouldn’t be bothering her so much. But she’s not, so she’s apologizing to everyone who squeezes by. In between boardings, she fidgets with the positioning of the bags, trying to make a little more room.

Gray flannel slacks, dark green turtleneck, an outdoor vest in a color my wife would probably call “cayenne.” She doesn’t look like someone who is used to hauling a lot of luggage around on the bus. I look for a wedding band and see no jewelry at all.

No makeup, either.

A couple of stops later, I realize from the bus driver she’s not from here. He’s telling her he’ll let her know where she needs to get off to catch the bus to Coors, and he lays out a bit of the town geography for her.

All of these things show in her face: having to ride the bus with all this luggage, being the center of attention by inconveniencing everyone else, not knowing where she’s going, all by herself . . .

Here’s where the story is, and this is all I’m gonna get of it.

The driver tells her we’re approaching Central and this is where she will be getting off. She needs to walk across Central, turn left, and walk to the shelter where one of the Rapids is waiting. “But make sure it’s the Red Line,” he tells her. “There’s two other lines that stop there.”

At Central, she pulls on her rucksack and starts trying to maneuver the bags. The driver leaves his seat and hauls the bigger bag out to the sidewalk. One of the riders sitting close by, a small black woman, jumps up and grabs the wheel-end of the other bag so that the two women carry the bag off the bus. Although her expression says this is more help than she really wanted, she is profusely thankful for the other woman's kindness.

We last see her in the crosswalk, struggling with both suitcases bumping into one another behind her. I’m hoping there’s someone to meet her at the end of the line.

The photo at the top of this story is titled “Luggage” and is posted with the kind permission of Jaypeg. You can see this and all Jaypeg’s photos on Flickr at:


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice Christmas feeling story. What a wonderful driver. I can easily picture myself in that lady's position of feeling "in the way" and being a bother in a world where everyone is rushing and seems to know exactly where they are going. The kindness of strangers will always be a welcome surprise.

6:29 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Your empathy with the woman in the story is touching. Thank you for posting this.

8:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think she was embarking on a new life, her secret life which she had lived so long in snatches had finally taken over and she was championing the cause for living a life of all those passions that sometimes come and are passed by because they are too enjoyable to be good and proper.

11:49 AM  
Blogger Busboy said...

That dovetails nicely with my projection of a nun having just left the convent. In any case, she did not have the look of someone rushing toward a new life with passionate abandon. If you are right, I think it will be a slow unfolding.

4:04 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home