She made her way to the rear of the bus, lithe and graceful, a freckle-faced girl with the stomach of a pregnant woman. So heavy with child I worried, and I noted the way her smooth arms draped around her protrusion, as if the life force within was vital to her existence. Purple colored fingernails in stark contrast to the lime green top stretched out across her belly.
“Honey,” the effeminate voice belonged to a man.
She paused and turned towards a stunted man at the fare box. His posture suggested confusion; his hands were sliding in and out of the empty pockets of his oversized tweed jacket and undersized khaki pants.
“Twenty cents,” he said, “what happened to the twenty cents?”
She retraced her steps to the front; the dignity in her bearing lent a feeling of compassion to the stuffy, stinky local bus. From my choice seat by the window (I had cracked it open), I saw the next boarding passenger drop some extra coins into the fare box.
“It’s ok,” he said, his hands expressive as he waved them both down the aisle.
The young girl and her instrument of power led the way down the aisle; the dwarf-like man followed close behind. His head was nearly all skull. The thin strips of gooey auburn hair slicked down his neck, the base of which appeared a shade darker than the rest of his face.
She sat down in the empty seat diagonally across from me. The man eyed my bag in the empty seat next to me; and just as I was lifting it off the seat, I caught a whiff of something foul. The odor curled like a ribbon into my nostrils, destroying all comfort.
“Would you two like to sit together,” I asked getting up from my seat, purposefully pointing to her seat.
“Oh, Thank You!” They said it in unison. I felt a little guilty for the appearance of a caring act; but the man smelled! There was no way I would survive a 45 minute bus ride with him next to me (even with the window open).
For the rest of the ride, I wondered about the pair. The man, who had promptly laid his head on her distended belly, remained draped all over her, encumbering her with his extra load…old and smelly.