What was extraordinary is that I slept through the night for the first time in months, perhaps years, and the light flashing from my Moonbeam alarm clock didn’t wake me. Five minutes later, the backup bell alarm did, but just enough for me to turn it off and make a quick bathroom trip (there’s a reason this theme recurs in my morning dreams).
I fell asleep again until 7 a.m., when I was struck by two things: I felt well rested, and I felt good — I didn’t feel any pain in my muscles, joints, or nerves. I have had a constant level of mild pain (with spikes of a more severe kind) for so long that I’d forgotten what it’s like not to ache.
Of course, the pain came back, but for a while it was lovely to feel young again.
On the morning bus I saw a young man playing with a mobile phone or PDA. I couldn’t help noticing how slack-jawed his face went while he was working with it; I wonder if he had any idea how silly he looked with his mouth set to catch enormous flies.
In the evening, there’s a couple, perhaps in their late 50s, who catch the same bus I do when I’m not headed toward State Street for Argo Tea, Puppet Bike, or HWLC. If there are seats left, they are usually singles, so the couple rarely gets to sit together. The man reads The Wall Street Journal, while the woman, in a different part of the bus, looks straight ahead (which is not something I could do, day after day).
Today when I looked up from reading, I saw the man in the first row of forward-facing seats — next to an empty seat. His wife was sitting two rows behind him, next to a woman she apparently didn’t know; they didn’t speak, so it wasn’t as though she had chosen to sit and chat with a friend.
When they got off the bus, another observer would have thought they were strangers for all the attention they gave one another. They didn’t even walk together; he went ahead.
To me, as a single woman, their behavior seemed odd. I know being married doesn’t mean being joined at the hip 24/7, but on a bus full of strangers why wouldn’t you sit with the one person you know? I wondered if they had had an argument. If so, I would marvel that, at this stage of life, not speaking would be the behavior of choice. It seems juvenile to me, like something we did at 15, not 55.
I don’t think this is how they act normally, because I have seen them talking at the bus stop.
Somewhere there’s a story, although it may not be as interesting as I would like to believe.
As the song says, “People are strange.” Someday that will finally sink in.