Sunday, January 10, 2016

BUS STORY # 479 (A Tender Mercy)

Untitled, © All Rights Reserved, by AShakur.

There’s a guy waiting for the bus at the second to the last stop at the end of the route where the driver can take a break if he’s on schedule.

When the bus pulls up and the door opens, the guy waiting doesn’t board. He’s talking with the driver.

I can’t hear the conversation. I figure he’s asking something about where the bus goes or how to get from here to somewhere else.

He points down the sidewalk, then makes an exaggerated “c’mon, c’mon” gesture. Ah, he’s trying to hold the bus for someone who’s running late.

The driver shakes his head no, and the doors start to close. Then I see him look in the mirror. The doors return to wide open, and he waits.

And waits.

Eventually, we see a guy limping up the sidewalk to the front door. Older guy, obviously trying to go as fast as he can. I can see the effort and pain on the side of his face.

When the old guy boards, I see knee pads worn on the outside of his jeans on both knees. The pads are backwards, the pad behind his knees. The straps are pulled tight above and below the knees.

He staggers toward the bench seat and falls into me.

He apologizes profusely, and explains it’s his knees. I can smell alcohol on his breath.

I tell him it’s OK, and say it looks like he’s got some pretty sore knees.

He does, he does, but he can’t get them fixed. He went to the VA and they ran some tests and he’s got blood clots in his chest. They can’t fix the knees until the blood clots go away.

His knees are too sore for him to ride his bike anymore. That’s why he’s gone back to drinking. Because of the pain, you know.

The driver has driven past the rest stop. There was no one waiting, and there was no time left to take a break. He’ll probably have forgotten all about it by the end of the day.


The photo at the top of this story is untitled, © All Rights Reserved, and is posted with the permission of AShakur. You can see AShakur's photostream on Flickr here.


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