I was riding the bus the other day and had a seat all to myself when the bus started to fill up with people. I’m used to riding packed buses- so packed that i’m only afforded seat real estate for one buttock. So, knowing that the empty spaces around me would soon be occupied I stopped reading my book and began to check out the oncoming passengers. Y’all might be familiar with this game. I like to play it on airplanes when I’m sitting in the aisle seat and the middle seat next to me is empty. I size-up every man woman and child passing down that aisle trying to discern who I'm going to share my personal space with for the next four hours. “Well, hello there really hot guy in the Princeton tee, come sit here. No, no, where are you going? Don’t keep walking... oh god, please don’t let it be Mr. Canadian Tuxedo with the runny nose, I saw you use your sleeve...” and so the mental conversation goes. I play the same game here, only we are on a bus and the guys t-shirt reads “World’s Best Mom” or “Give me candy or I’ll steel your boyfriend” (no joke- i’ve seen both being worn by Guatemalan men). So, there I was entire row to myself as the passengers started filing in. I spotted a happy family; mother, daughter and son squeezing down the aisle and thought, please let it be, three of them plus one of me makes four across, everyone wins. I gave the mom a warm no-teeth smile trying to coax her into electing my aisle for her family. Sure enough it worked and the family of three took their seats in my row. The mom and sister on the opposite bench and the little boy climbed up and sat next to me. This little boy was as adorable as could be- the type of kid you can’t help but want to hug. His legs were dangling over the edge of the seat and he had these sweet curious eyes and a cute little button nose. The first 20 minutes on the bus he sat gingerly peering out the window or observing the other passengers. He was awfully well behaved. About 30 minutes into the ride he began to get a little sleepy, doing the head-bob until his sister reached over and shook him up straight. By minute 45 he was in full sleep mode, slowly sliding down the pleather school bus seat-back until his little head rested gently on my left arm. I tried not to move, I didn’t want to wake him. It was such a nice change to have this little angel resting on me instead of the tired and overworked laborers or sour and over-served drunks for whom I'm used to serving as a human pillow. I sat there, as still as I could be on the bumpy road, actually relishing this innocent invasion of my personal space. And as I sat there I realized that i’d forgotten how comforting it feels to be a shoulder for someone to lean on. It was a short moment of bliss for as soon as his older sister looked over and noticed his head resting on my arm, she swept him up and put him on her lap. And then, just like that, I had the seat to myself again.
p.s. the picture above has nothing to do with the bus incident. Its a picture of my neighbors Leslie, Benicio and one of their older cousins I took from my yard looking into theirs.. I just thought this story needed some cute kids.