Sunday, August 21, 2011

city life

On the 1st avenue M15, an old woman who spoke no English turned to me and pointed to a piece of paper that said simply, "To 59th street." She had the sweetest eyes, and they asked me silently where the bus would stop, when and how she would make it to 59th street. We were only at 23rd street. I spoke to her but she acted like she didn't understand my words. She would make murmuring sounds with her voice, but she wasn't speaking another language, so I got the impression that she just couldn't speak at all, but that maybe at one time she could. I tried to communicate to her, with my eyes and my hands and my smile, that I would let her know when we got to 59th street so she could get off the bus. Her eyes were so sweet, they smiled in return even though her mouth never really moved that much. We got to about 54th street and I tried to let her know to get off at the next stop, which was 57th street. She looked confused and pointed to the paper, handing it to me and motioning for me to write down what I was saying. So I took her pen and wrote "get off the bus and walk two blocks up to 59th street." When the bus stopped at 57th street, I escorted her off, walked back to my seat and watched through the bus window as she walked to the stop and fished her umbrella from her bag. It was raining pretty good. I motioned to her through the window which direction to walk to get to 59th, but I don't think she saw me.

I hope she made it to where she was headed. 59th street is long.

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