Sunday, February 10, 2013

BUS STORY # 327 (Old New Father)

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On the Bus, © Elijah Zarwan, a photo by Elijah Zarwan on Flickr.


The first I see of him is his back all hunched over and backing up the stairs of the 300.

He’s pulling a good-sized stroller up the stairs.  A woman is on the other end, but she has two bags in addition to the back of the stroller, so he’s doing some heavy-duty pulling.

Up on the floor, he puts the stroller across the second set of bench seats directly across from me.  The woman drops the bags on two of the seats, then heads back to the till.

She swipes two bus passes, then comes over to the bench.  The man is already sitting in the third empty seat, behind the front end of the stroller.

Inside the stroller is one cute kid, maybe four or five months old, in a blue jumpsuit, an orange watch cap, and orange mittens. Denver Bronco colors.

I figure the man must be early 50s.  Faded blue jeans, brown sweatshirt, short, stand-up-straight gray hair.

She’s younger, but not young, maybe mid-30s.  Pretty good size, a sleeveless black blouse despite the cool weather.

She tells him he needs to take the child out of the stroller.

He jumps to it, and sits the child on his lap.  Both of them look happy.

She tells him he needs to give the child his bottle now.  He starts rummaging through one of the bags with one free hand.

“He’s still learning,” she explains to the rest of us watching the show.

“I’m 50 years old and I’m a father,” he says, “and this is my son. I have a son!”

Pride and a slightly stunned-looking wonder fill his face.  He leans over the child and kisses him on the top of his cap.

Later, as they are approaching their stop, Mom tells Dad to take the kid and the two bags.  She’ll get the stroller.  He does as he’s told, no trace of male resentment or testosterone-fueled pushback.  He’s looks happily bewildered, and grateful for direction.

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The photo at the top of this story is titled On the Bus, © Elijah Zarwan, and is posted here by permission. You can see all Elijah Zarwan’s photos on Flickr here.

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