He looked so tired, as if his last burst of energy had left his body a long time ago. His physicality reminded me of the elegant Nubians I had seen in Egypt.
Last Sunday Arthur and I had hopped aboard the jitney that would take us to Lincoln Road for a stroll along the shops, flea market stalls and farmers markets. It is on this jitney that I encountered the weary traveler.
He sat sideways, giving me a view if his hard hat. Small stickers of butterflies and turtles were placed in childlike angles on his hat. Stickers that I recognized from those my grandchildren would stick all over anything that was not moving.
Hesitant to invade his space on the almost empty bus, I couldn’t help but eject myself into his silent space because he looked so weary, so alone.
“Did your children put those stickers on?”, I asked just a little above a whisper, hoping I wasn’t offending him.
He turned and looked a me and in a quiet recognition of my interest in his hat, shook his head up and down.
“You know they love you, don’t you?”
My words seemed to float into the empty space between us. Hanging. Silence.
And then in his weary voice he lowered his head looking at his weathered hands in his lap and replied so quietly, “I hope so. I hope so.”
I wanted to assure him, but I just smiled in reply. I wanted to tell him I know so. This grandma knows when your children or grandchildren put their precious stamps on your things, it makes you theirs to keep. Each time you look at those stickies, a part of their little souls will travel with you no matter how far. Smart little critters. All of them!