You Get What You Need

It’s been a long day. Up at 5 am to catch the bus to New York, a full session with plenty of business and catching up with colleagues after a month-plus of not visiting The City. A sunny late-afternoon walk across town brings the realization that your energy is about tapped out.

Down into the bowels of the Port Authority Bus Terminal. The long lines waiting to board a bus to Long Island or some northern suburb. A middle-aged man sitting on a bench. You think why is he sitting alone until you hear why. “Ain’t nobody better fuck with me!”

You jump on the bus plop down in the seat, close your eyes, and don’t even notice the row in front of you has been taken by a (very) young mom and her less-than-year-old daughter—until you hear the cries. The cries escort you through the Lincoln Tunnel and on to the Turnpike, headed south, past Newark.

Great, two hours of this, you think.

And then you notice the bus has quieted, and something else—a smile between the seats. The eyes crinkled and taking you in.

And it’s you who’s taken in, mugging and bobbing and putting your index finger in her impossibly small hand. The crinkled face and liquid eyes.

Thinking, please, two hours of this.

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