Brief Moments of Closeness

Today I went to South Station to take the bus to New York. On my walk from Park Station, some random teenybopper interrupted my trance to have and say hello and some other things for his friends’ benefit.

Unfortunately being an Asian woman, or being a woman more like, street harassment is quite a common occurrence. I rolled my eyes and said “Hi” very curtly and went along my way.

I walked away wondering why he said hello. I wondered how he wanted to appear in front of his friends.

At South Station, I decided to indulge in a traveling essential, fast foods. It was loud in the station, so I didn’t hear the server ask me what kind of sauce I wanted with my McNuggets. And so she practically had to yell at me. Honestly, it was unpleasant, but I rolled with it. I’m sure she had a long shift and it was probably annoying to have to repeat yourself.

While waiting for my order, a man approached me. He was pleasant and asked if I was around here. We exchanged some pleasantries and he continued to tell me that he was stranded here and was $12 short on his ticket to go home in Maine. I felt bad of course, and I didn’t really know what to say.

As a recent college graduate with student loans and an entry-level full time job, I am barely making enough money to pay for all my bills. But it seemed like such a dire situation, I wanted to help. I reached into my wallet, but being part of the generation of plastic cards. and swiping, I had very little cash on me.

Two dollars to be more exact.

I handed him the two dollars and said, “This is all I have right now. I hope this helps.”

And I heard the server lady yelling at me again for not hearing my order number (mostly because I was fishing through my bag for cash to help this man) so I walked away.

I don’t know what happened to this man. I don’t know if he has found the ten more dollars to buy his ticket home.

It was after I had walked away and had gotten to the bus terminal to line up for the bus, when a thought of doubt crossed my mind. He was in mid-sentence about finding an ATM when I heard the server. Was he lying? Would he have robbed me? It’s not in my nature to doubt the goodness in people, but I did think it was strange for him to bring up the ATM.

Anyway, I am sitting on the bus right now thinking about the ways in which the millions of lives cross paths and part ways hundreds of times in a given day.

I wonder who he talked to after me. I wonder how much cash they had. I wonder why he was short on cash. I wonder why he was in Boston. I wonder how many people walked away from him without another glance. I wonder what his story is. I wonder if he would remember me a week from now.

There are a ton of people on this bus. What is their story? Why are they going to New York? Why were they in Boston? Do I have any mutual friends with anyone on this bus?

It’s truly mind boggling to think of the sheer number of people, wrapped in their own unique fabric of experiences, patterned with their stories, who enter our immediate world.


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