She stood there on the corner of McDonald and Kings waiting in silence.
Dirty streets and a cool wind, empty bottle of champagne rolling in the gutter.
She checks her watch and smiles, almost that time again.
A stranger stands several feet beside her and begins to whistle a tune.
It sounds so familiar but she can’t place it. She glances quickly at the whistler and then looks away.
Now she feels he looks familiar and tries to remember who he is.
He continues the whistling and then begins a hum.
Now she remembers the name of the song. She glances again at the stranger who seems familiar.
He is wearing a derby hat, an overcoat and dark trousers. He has long sideburns and a heavy unshaven face. His green eyes give him away and she smiles.
“God we have aged.” She thinks to herself.
She steps into the pavement to check if the bus is anywhere near but all she sees is a traffic light and car lined street.
She says in just above a whisper, “How you doing Jake?”
He turns and stares. Stays silent for several seconds and then surrenders a big smile.
“Oh Barb, it’s been such a long time and you still haven’t changed.”
“I’ve changed but my core is still the same.”
They decide to walk further down towards where the bus is supposed to bring them. They talk about their lives and the past 40 years which seems like just a couple of weeks ago.
“it’s been a crazy run, Barb. Last time we spoke was, God, 1984? I’ve been around the universe and back with stops in hell and heaven along the way.”
“yeah well that seems to be the course that the years drag us through. One night a party the next an evening talking into the mirror wondering where the music went.”
“You got that right. It’s so crazy how we find ourselves trying to stay on the canoe while the rapids thrust us forward. We never even have the chance to heal our scars or remember just what it was that caused them.”
“Jake, we sound like our parents.”
“I feel like my grandparents…”
The bus drove pass them as they kept on walking, talking and validating each other’s existence.
“Sometimes I look around and I feel like it was all, my history, another persons life or a novel I read.”
“Yup, sometimes it feels to me that age has caused me to float higher and higher and now when I look down I feel like I am going to free fall onto the concrete.”
“What ever happened to Rob?” Barb asked.
“You married him.”
“Oh yeah.” She laughed, “divorced him soon after.”
“I heard he moved to Jersey and opened an auto repair shop.”
“Yeah he was good with his hands, that’s about all though. He could punch like Mike Tyson if dinner was late or I was lucky enough to have a miscarriage.”
“No no no it’s all good, just part of the steps we take towards our final stop. I had four kids work Billy, you know? We are grandparents several times over.”
“That’s great. Nothing like being a grandparent. I have four of them. How is Billy?”
“Billy is doing well, still acting like he is 15 and looking like he is 30. Why do men age so much better than women?”
“I look like shit, you look great. Every time I look in the mirror I feel like it’s my grandfather staring back at me.”
“I see my Aunt Rose, that’s scary.”
They were laughing and didn’t realize they had walked to their destination. Life has a way sometimes of providing company for the times you don’t realize you need them the most.
The wind kept blowing, another bus creeped by and some bells were ringing, somewhere. The dusk had turned to evening and the street lights were lit.
Just another story of two people heading in the same direction having a conversation about lives lived.