People In Your Neighborhood

So, every day I take my daughter to school by riding the city bus. Every day, I see the same two women. Like clockwork the first woman gets off the bus just as the second gets on. They never acknowledge one another. Hell, I don't know if they even see each other since they take a different door. Every day, though, I can't help but notice them.The first woman gets on the bus some time before my daughter and I. She always sits near the middle, as close to the back door as she can. Even here in the desert, she doesn't leave home without her umbrella. She's older. I'd estimate she's somewhere in her 60s. Short and round, slate grey hair in a pixie cut. Her face always intrigues me. With her lower lip pushing up in a permanent frown, her mouth reminds me of a large mouth bass. Her eyes are dark and beady. Her face is lined with judgement and I wonder if she's ever known joy. As she gets off the bus, the other woman gets on.

She is younger. I'd put her in her 40s or so. She's about the same height and build as the first woman, but about 40 pounds lighter. Her blonde hair is styled in the same cut, too. She smiles. She's always quick to talk to the driver or wave to my girl. She's wary, though. There is a hesitation in her eyes. An unwillingness to let go and dive into joy head first.

I make up stories about these women. To's the same woman. The older one rides the bus every day just to get a glimpse of her younger, healthier, happier self.

Every day I hope the first woman will smile. Because maybe then, the next twenty years will be brighter for the blonde.