Interpret this as you will…
For absent friends. We are thinking of you every moment.
This afternoon I left work as usual just before five o’clock. Leaving the office, swiping out and descending the grim service stairs to the street takes about three minutes. Walking to the intersection of Jean-Talon and Galeries D’Anjou takes another thirty seconds. Therefore, I don’t usually make the bus the passes my stop at one minute past five. Sometimes, if there is heavy traffic and the lights have changed to red before everyone has boarded, I can get on board. Others, I see it pulling away just as I leave the building.
The more that I think about it, this sight is not particularly new to me. I’ve pretty much always lived or worked close, but never right next to bus stops. In every case there has been the possibility of leaving my home or place of work to just see a bus stopping or pulling away. In both cases, there’s no point running – you just won’t make it. You just have to walk towards it calmly knowing it’s already gone.
This approach doesn’t usually let me down, especially since it allows a smug sense of self rightous satisfaction when people run past me to catch a bus metro train and miss it. If it were a trans-Atlantic flight or a VIA Rail train that only runs three times a week, then I’d understand. But it’s not. And there’ll be another one in a few minutes.
Today, however, when I saw the bus (still waiting for the lights to turn) I decided to break my normal composure and run for it. A lady was waiting at the intersection to cross Jean Talon. She saw me approaching, and realised fairly quickly it was the bus I was running for (there not being much else worth running towards in the area where I work). So she turned and did something very kind. She walked over the bus, and knocked on the side window that is in front of the front set of doors to get the driver’s attention. And when she pointed to my heaving sweating figure, the driver opened his doors for me. As I flew past the woman, we exchanged smiles, I expressed a breathless ‘merci’. She smiled a smile that was probably wider than mine, and replied ‘Bienvenue’. I hopped on board, and we pulled away before the doors were even closed.
Following a phone call that had punched me hard in the chest earlier that afternoon, I was already buzzing with troubled thoughts about the importance of the smallest impulses and decisions in our lives. They can bring so much happiness, and they can bring even more sadness. We make these decisions every second or every day, never capable of comprehending the consequences. And then, one time in a million, the consequences are worse than our most secret nightmares.
Now is the time for forgeting the regretable decisions, and celebrating the joyous, exciting and brilliant choices. Without them, there would be no life to celebrate.