The dark grey sky cried out over the capital, the man walked into the overhang of the bus stop and stood for a moment, shivering off the cold. Looking over, the single woman engaged him into conversation. Her peppered hair gave her age, but her eyes, smile, and spirit spoke of a youth younger than how the man himself felt -- though she was many years his senior.
A foster child coming into town to see this grandmother, this was the source of her excitement, the reason her agoraphobia was behaving, why she was divulging half her life to a lone stranger on a Friday afternoon. They chatted, his responses slow at first, but then more readily as she listened. She went on about how she had fostered a lot of children before, but this was one of the few who she had known since a baby, who she had held and slept with during the times when comfort was the most important thing of all.
Another woman, blonde and lean appeared to wait for her bus, the two knew each other, regulars of the city bus routes, they caught up as the man shook off another shiver. Fingering the oranges in his pocket, he watched as a fourth prospective passenger trudged through the icy and slick sheets of sidewalk.
This man was carrying dry-wall and painting equipment. One large white bucket filled with supplies complimented by a longer trough filled with tools. A triad of wooden poles thrusted towards the sky from the bucket and lay across one shoulder. A balancing act on iced pavement a situation the 3 members of the overhang were happy not to have.
After setting down the supplies onto one of the beaten down benches, the man, 33 years old with a grey fleece zip-up sweater, thick work boots and khaki pants, was soon amiably talking with the older woman. They hit it off. The man spoke of how people would yell at him for driving his work truck, a gas guzzler with a large carbon footprint, through town, and how rude it was. He didn't have a choice in the matter, a single working man who was in the process of recovering from various addictions and issues over the years, he couldn't afford a second car. The grey haired woman agreed that it was rude of them, but that it was a great thing that people care enough to yell about a carbon footprint. Soon enough, recent politics of the President and how he was going to try to make a more rigorous specification for engine cleanliness by 2016 squirmed into their talk.
The conversation ranged, the man's Texan accent bringing up travel and the reasons why he was in the North-East. The miraculous story of how a phone with no minutes had randomly connected to the internet long enough for him to check craigslist painting ads and get the email off that enabled him to get the job he had now. Small miracles, leading to big results.
Turning again, their discussion moved to volunteer work, the grey haired woman, Lauren, now bringing up a center where she volunteered, invited the man to come. Agreeing, he began talking about ADHD and the effect it had on children and how he really would love to tell his story to them. Issues ranging from drugs, alcohol, atheletics, breaking his back and dealing with attempted suicide. The lows in his lives taught him a lot of lessons, and those lessons could do some good for people if shared. The ability to focus had opened his life back up to him. Enabling him to slam dunk his work ethic like he had dunked basket balls in college. The first man listened, inspiration building as he heard the story of these life-educated people. No books could teach the simple lesson that the dry-walling painter said next:
"I need a cause in my life"
Large and lumbering, the blue bus rolled throught the center of town up to the stop. While unloading, the two men watched as Lauren greeted and hugged her grandson, the love visibly warm despite the cold rain pouring from the sky. Turning, the working man asked the other if he was getting onto the same bus. After an affirmation, he asked if he wouldn't mind helping him by carrying the set of wooden poles onto the bus.
Readily agreeing, the two men filed onto the bus, placing the heavy equipment into the open space near the handicapped seating. Genuine thanks were given, and the first man took his place on the bus, reclining back and absorbing all that he had just heard. The strain of the man's accented voice reached the first as he engaged a girl, a student, in conversation. Telling his story, getting his practice for when his cause could be taken up.