Sunday, May 11, 2014

BUS STORY # 392 (Moonstruck)

Detail from R.C. Gorman's "Earth Mother," downloaded from First People.

A Native American kid boards the bus with his mom. He looks four, maybe five. Neat and clean. Shy face, what they call “cute” hair. Blue and green striped shirt and bluejeans.

Mom looks mid-twenties. Neat oatmeal shirt with purple undertones tucked into black jeans, not tight. Lustrous black hair pulled tightly back into a ponytail.

She takes the bench seat in front of me, and he nestles right in beside her. I look up from the kid when he looks up at his mother, and I am struck.

It takes me a few minutes to start figuring it out. It’s her eyes. What I’m seeing in them is an undistracted, relaxed, deep and transparent affection for her son. All that has spread out across her face, and that is what is making her look beautiful at this moment.

She has her right arm around him, and her small hand clasps his jeans leg outside his knee. She has managed to do this without making him, or me, feel any constriction. He radiates contentment.

The arrow pierces the heart when he looks back up at her and says something, and her face turns down to him as she responds, too softly for anyone but him to hear. I know what I am seeing, but I’ve seen it so rarely it’s hard to put into words.

I’ve seen a lot of moms, on and off the bus, paying a lot of attention to their children. And while I have no doubt whatsoever about their love and sincerity at those moments, there is often something that seems not fully natural, maybe a little disciplined, as if the moms are having to shift gears in order to be who they think they need to be in order to be loving and attentive mothers. I have seen that shift when conversation is called for.

I know something about that shift. Last summer, my wife and I spent two weeks with our grandchildren, a week on each coast, and try as I might, only on rare and fleeting occasions was I able to completely lose myself in the relationship. I think I passed the grandfather test, but even when that gap was bridged, there was still the gap.

This young woman doesn’t exhibit any of that effort at all. I have the sense she is exactly who she is, and there is absolutely no one else she’d rather be with and nothing else she’d rather be doing than being with her son on this bus.

And when I finally look around, I realize her son and I are not the only riders smitten. Two old ladies on the aisle seats across from her are grinning with the same recognition. We’re all of us in love for a few lovely moments.


The image at the top of this story is a detail from R.C Gorman's "Earth Mother," downloaded from First People.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a beautiful Mother's Day story.
Led me to a little soul searching.
It breaks my heart to see moms on their cell phone when they are out with their children.

4:26 PM  
Blogger Busboy said...

Thank you for your kind, and also thoughtful, words.

9:05 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home