Tuesday, January 26, 2010

quiet space

A student finds a quiet corner in the hallway. Sunlight is streaming in but I doubt he notices. Computer, a coffee, music. Effective barriers.


For my own coffee break I stroll down to the lake. I don't walk this way much during the winter. Too cold. But today, finally, the sun's out. I look at the frozen ripples. Rough going for anyone wanting to skate across. No one does though. It's an empty sea of stillness.


The bus is crowded on the ride home. It always is in the early evening. People come to campus at various hours, but they all want to leave now. Who can blame them.

I sit behind a young man (young, by my estimation: a student type) and I notice that he is reading a long, handwritten letter. Who these days writes letters? By hand?

Just a quick glance tells me that it is indeed a letter. A love note. No, more of a note pleading for love written by a person in love.

He seems unmoved, though who can tell. I imagine her to be wanting so much to jolt him into whatever it is that she finds lacking. And I wonder if anyone has ever written a letter that had an impact, that shook someone into love, that cajoled and ultimately convinced another person to continue. Or return. Or respond in kind.

He stuffs it in his pack and gets off.

Meanwhile the old man next to me starts grunting. Or singing. Of sorts. I know now why this one seat next to him was still empty when I got on.

I don’t mind riding the bus. It’s good for me, it's good for my budget, the environment. But today, I miss having a car. A Smart car maybe, with comfy seats, streaks of sun poking through a sunroof, and without the disquieting presence of fellow travelers whose burdens and issues I cannot correct, repair or even make just a touch lighter.