Man alone in bus shelter

Man in the bus shelter

Years ago when I was a reporter I wrote a story about an elderly man who spent his days in a bus shelter. He was in his seventies and dressed in a well-worn but presentable suit and a sturdy pair of polished black shoes. He sat on the bench all day. Buses stopped but he never got on. His bus never came. At night he walked six blocks to a homeless shelter where he got something to eat and slept on a cot in a corner. People at the shelter told me this. The man never spoke, to them or to me.

And next morning he would be back on the bench in the bus shelter. I asked him questions but he never answered or even looked at me. He just stared straight ahead, at something or someone, I guessed, that he had lost a long time ago.

He was there for two weeks and then one day he wasn’t. I asked at the homeless shelter and they said one night he didn’t come to the shelter and they didn’t know what happened to him. I went to the bus company and asked the drivers who worked that route. They knew who I was talking about because they saw him every day in the bus shelter, but they all said he never got on their bus.

He just vanished into the loneliness of his life.

I think about him now because in many ways I have become that man. My bus shelter is a small bungalow and I am waiting for a bus that will never come. To take me to an unknown destination where everyone who was ever a part of me may or may not be. They vanished too. Over the years. One by one.


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