Friday, October 23, 2009

Watching and Thinking

Years ago I developed a habit of wondering what other people were thinking and where they were going and what they were doing. It usually started when I was in a crowd waiting for a parade or standing in line at a theater or just having to wait for a friend to show up.

At first it was a series of different folks of different sizes walking or rushing by. I would see a lady of proportion looking like the night before was one too many at the bar or a disheveled looking older guy whose beard needed a good combing or a business man in a suit carrying a brief case with something weighing on his mind as he tripped and bumped into someone.

A hundred faces pointed in different directions and yet there was an order to their travels. The large lady was heading to catch a bus and the older guy headed into a magazine store while the business man walked through the revolving doors of a commercial building.

At first glance it seemed the large lady had a hang over but a second glance showed someone clearly worried. I imagined she was on a tight schedule but missing the bus was not in her plan. She got on the bus and her eyes were moist and her head hung down as she gripped her purse tightly and the pain on her face was apparent. She was rushing to see a very dear friend. She was so anxious she started to rock in her seat and finally the tears came and she sobbed. A young woman, seeing her plight, went and sat beside her and didn't ask what was wrong but said: "Sometimes there are events in our lives that hurt so much perhaps you could tell me about it. I'm a very good listener."

The woman looked at her, weighing the words she had spoken, and deciding if it would be alright. She then spoke and said: "My friend Jinny has been in an accident and it sounds serious and I am on my way to the hospital to see her. She hasn't anyone I know of except me and it is such a long way to the hospital because I have to change buses several times and I am so scared I might get there too late."

The young women felt her panic and said: "I have two dollars but you can have that and take a taxi but I'm afraid it won't be enough." Several pasengers, hearing what was being said, quickly came over and each offered a dollar. Someone spoke to the bus driver and asked if he could stop at a place where the lady could get a taxi. It was agreed to and she moved up front close to the door. The driver pulled to a stop and just before the large lady exited the bus she turned to all the passengers and said: "God bless you and I shall never forget your kindness."

She hurried down to the taxi stand and took a taxi to the hospital. She arrived in short order and was soon ushered to a nurses' station where the nurse said: "It is good your here. No one besides you has come and she has been asking for someone name Betty." "That's me," the large lady said, and asked what had happened.

"She has had a accident and has a concussion; she is in intensive care but she is coherent and you can go in and see her for a few minutes."The nurse continued, "She had your phone number in her purse and that is the only contact we had."

Betty walked into the intensive care, determined to be up beat and cheerful. Jinny spotted her and soon the two of them embraced and Betty found herself saying: "I can't leave you alone for a moment without you getting into trouble." Jinny smiled and said: "Oh, Betty, you're here and I feel better already."

The conversation was low and the caring for each other boosted both their spirits. Betty told her the story of the passengers on the bus. Jinny had happy tears and Betty knew her friend would be coming home soon. "Jinny! We are going to have to save up and go to see my sister Lily in Calgary and spend a couple of weeks with her." They both laughed and then sighed, knowing in their hearts that it could happen and it was something to look forward to.


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