BEHIND CHRISTMAS ARE MANY HUMAN STORIES


I boarded the Greyhoud bus 
to head home for Christmas.
I looked out the window and saw
an elderly woman with a cane
walking slowly toward the bus door.
She stopped to re-tie her blue faded scarf,
pull her shawl tighter around her,
and pick up a small crocheted bag.
”Are you sure this is mine?” she asked.
A younger woman took the lady’s arm
and helped her up the steps of the bus.
”Yes, babushka, it’s yours,” she said.
The younger woman guided the older woman
to a seat near the front of the bus.
She fluffed a worn hand-embroidered pillow
and put it behind the older woman’s back.
”Oh, that’s, just right,” the older woman said.
The younger woman smiled a warm smile
and patted the older woman’s wrinkled hand.
”Thank you for the homemade jellies,” she said.
The old woman winked and smiled.
”There’s a bit of hot pepper in them, you know.”
”Yes, I know, I like that,” the younger woman said.
She grasped the older woman’s hands in hers.
The older hands were wrinkled and calloused.
The younger hands were smooth and delicate.
”I’ll miss you,” the younger lady said.
”I’ll miss you, too, my sweet one,” the older lady said.
”Call me when you get home,” the younger lady said.
”I will.  I promise,” the older lady said.
The younger lady gently brushed the old woman’s
hair from her wrinkled and worn face.
”Merry Christmas, babushka.  I love you,” she whispered.
She leaned down and gave the older woman
a kiss and a warm, tender embrace.
”I love you, too,” the older woman said.
”And Merry Christmas to you.  I’ll miss you.”
They held the embrace momentarily and said no more.
The younger lady turned and descended the steps.
As she walked down the sidewalk,
she paused, turned, and waved.
The older woman waved back.
The younger lady continued walking
and was soon out of sight.
The older woman kept peering through the window
as though she was hoping to get another glimpse
of the younger woman.
She wiped a tear from her eye.
And so did I.

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