There’s a photo of a man on a bus. Deb’s done her magical thinking thing once again and has asked us to come up with a story or a poem or something about him. There’s a song, too. I’m not listening to the song. I’m boycotting songs today for some reason.
Anyhow, here are the PROMPT rules and my story follows.
- Try to write your entry in 10 minutes. This encourages top-of-mind, primal thinking before the ego and judgmental brain kick in. Just set a timer, make your kid count to 600 slowly, whatever. It’s an honor system. And I trust you.
- Aim for 250 words or less.
- Please have fun. Don’t put pressure on yourself. Together, let’s rediscover the simple joy in the writing process.
- Post your submission in the comments OR post in your blog and leave a link to your blog in the comments
I see him sitting there, unaware of me and my musings. I realize I could say something. I could. I could attempt to engage him in conversation, but I don’t. Somehow, I get the feeling he’s not a talker. You can usually tell who’s a talker and who’s not just by the set of their jaw. He’s not a talker.
My head fills with things I want to say to him, were I to try to break the ice. You know how that is: a list of things that will remain unsaid. Later, long after I’m off that bus and warming myself in the steam of the hot shower, I wonder if he’s still awake, or even if he’s still alive. I imagine the worst. You know, that he was severely depressed and just waiting for someone to break the silence and turn his world around. What if, really, he’d been depressed and my words could have saved his life? Suddenly, I go from crazy woman musing in her shower to accomplice to suicide. The water turns cold and I realize I haven’t moved in 20 minutes, stunned by my overactive imagination.
And this, this is why I turn my head away sometimes. Why I put up that wall and seem indifferent. The imagined fate of one man can bring my world to a screeching halt in mere moments. I have a hard enough time handling my own life. I can’t worry over his or any other stranger’s life as I sit on the bus. I have to focus. Focus. Focus. Focus. And then I remember that we’re all in this together, aren’t we? If we don’t occasionally worry about one another, what’s the point? What really separates me from strangers on a bus? So I worry, but I also try to be a little more proactive. I’ll at least make the effort to say hello. If someone’s not a talker, they don’t have to answer. They don’t even need to make eye contact. But I’ll try and I’ll feel a little better knowing that maybe at least one person will hear a friendly voice on a bus full of strangers and maybe not feel so alone in this great big world.