It was already warm in the bus, at 7:30 in the morning. The sun shone dimly through the windows, refracted by the blue haze of smog ever present in the Tucson sky.
The old man sat quietly. I imagined where he might be headed. To the doctor, perhaps? Or shopping, while he still had a shot of morning energy?
He sat quietly, hands folded, eyes to the front, at peace.
Then he spoke, quietly but clearly, almost as if to himself, “My wife died. It was six months.”
The man sitting behind him did the unexpected, leaning in close to hear his words.
The younger man silently gave his full attention to the elder. They entered into a separate place, where they were the only two people in the world, recognizing one another.
“It’s been a little hard.” No self pity, no bitterness. Just acknowledgement.
The younger man never said anything. He just looked back. The difference was that he saw.
He saw that the man who spoke was much more than just a lonely old man on a bus, but possessed a heart that had been busy loving all his life, and had lost the object of that love.
He never spoke. He only listened.
We came to the Medical Center bus stop, and I watched as the old man slowly got off the bus.
As the bus started up again, I looked back to see him resting against the sign pole.
I wanted to take him somewhere, a diner perhaps, and feed him breakfast. I wanted to linger with him over a cup of awful diner coffee, and listen to stories of his life, and the people he had known and loved.
I wanted to show him kindness.