Waiting at the Bus Stop

Osmel Almaguer

Plaza in Old Havana.  Photo: Caridad
Plaza in Old Havana. Photo: Caridad

Upon finishing my anthropology exam, I got ready to head home.  I was a little discouraged because I had made mistakes on two of the three questions on the test.  I walked on thinking about my answers and everything that I had studied over the two previous months.

I finally got to the bus stop and asked for “el ultimo” (the last person in line).  A young woman answered back, “I think I am, but I’m not sure; today I’m a little out of it.”

These days it’s not so common for somebody to respond with such sincerity.  Generally you find people who, instead of offering their trust, try to violate yours.  That’s to say, instead of telling you who they are or how they feel, they invade your privacy with indiscreet or disrespectful questions.

While I was thinking about that, the bus stop fell silent -as if the whole line had heard what was running through my mind- until the noise from the bus interrupted.  Everyone’s attention re-focused on trying to get on, because there are always those who want to cut in ahead of the people in line.

I looked again at the woman, and with a gesture of my hand offered to pay her fare, which she accepted with a smile.

When I got in I realized there were few unoccupied seats.  Where she was sitting there was one, but out of fear of appearing too forward, I hesitated from taking it.  However, the speed with which the seats continued to fill made me react, so I went ahead and plopped down beside her.

I looked at her attentively, noticing her beauty.  She had jet black hair falling over her shoulders. Her eyes were dark, large and round; and nothing masked the sensuality of her full red lips, which stood out on the face of this small-framed slender woman.

During the trip we talked a lot.  She told me that she was a graduate in “Defectology,” a field that she had worked in for five years.  Over that time she had treated dozens of children with physical defects.   “It’s a very satisfying job, but it requires a great deal of love and willpower because it’s also pretty difficult, to the point that it affected me emotionally,” she confessed.

Now she works as a clerk in the Ministry of the Interior, which is the institution over the police, State Security, and so on.

Our conversation was so pleasant that we ended up talking about our hopes and problems.

She spoke about the overcrowding she experiences with the numerous family members in their apartment in the Alamar neighborhood, as well as her desire to have a child.  I told her about the hassles at my job, the financial limits and my plans as a writer.

The most important thing was that for a few moments I forgot about my problems, or at least I found them less serious and hopeless.  I gave her my work number before saying goodbye. Maybe she won’t call and I’ll never see her again, but I know that I’ll remember her for a long time.

2 thoughts on “Waiting at the Bus Stop

  • this sounds like “love at first sight”..you were a gentleman to allow her to make the first step..please keep us posted..I would love to read about a great ending..

  • Nice! I really hope she calls you.

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