Sunday, January 18, 2015

BUS STORY # 428 (Strangers In A Strange Land)


An old Japanese couple boards the bus. After taking care of the fare, they stand in the aisle looking at an unfolded piece of paper. Then the man folds up the paper and they go to take a seat.

Something about them suggests they are visitors rather than residents. Still, they seem familiar with the bus.

I am surprised when the husband takes the seat beside me, leaving his wife to find a seat further back. I decide I will get up and offer my seat to the woman at the next stop.

But when we stop, two rows in front of us completely empty out. The old man gets up and moves to the aisle seat of the first empty row.

Again to my surprise, his wife does not join him. I turn in my own seat and look back. She is sitting in the very last row, and looking like she has no intention of moving.

At the next stop, more seats empty out. This time, she comes down. But not to her husband’s side; to the seat directly behind him. She does not say anything to him, and he does not indicate that he knows she has moved.

I am looking at the scarf she is wearing over her hair. It is tied like a do-rag except it is a pink, gauzy thing, and it’s too short to cover the back of her head. And then I notice her pants: wide-legged stovepipes that stop above the ankle.

I look at her husband and notice his sweater vest: a large waffle weave in a color that comes closest to being what I call brown.

I think they must have brought their clothes with them from Japan.

Downtown, at the end of the route in the ATC, I watch them exit through the front door, the man first and his wife behind him. I catch sight of them again when I exit through the rear door. They are standing together, heads almost touching, looking down at the unfolded piece of paper in his hands.

Together again.


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