It was in the middle of the day and the cold winter wind made him shiver. When did it get so cold outside? He should probably have thought about taking his coat with him when he left the house. He was sitting there for a few hours now, watching people going by or sitting next to him.
A young couple passed, walking hand in hand, laughing and kissing each other. The old man looked at the ground as he felt awkward watching them being happily together.
A you man, probably still in his twenties hurried towards the bus station and stopped next to him. He was nervously shifting from one foot to the other while looking a few times at his watch.
"What's the hurry?" The old man asked with his low husky voice.
"I have to pick up my son from his babysitter. And I'm late. Do you know when the next bus arrives?"
"Not within the next ten minutes." By now the old man knew exactly the times when the different buses came. He watched the young man for a few minutes.
"You look really stressed out. Why don't you have a seat while you're waiting?"
"I'd rather be standing, but thanks." The old man nodded.
"Everything all right? You know sometimes it helps if you just take one deep breath to calm down a little."
The young man first looked sceptically at him but then took a deep breath. After that he actually sat down and felt how he relaxed for the first time this day.
"That's better. Thank you."
"Everything was just so stressful today, or in the last few months. I worked so hard for my little boy and me but I just think that's not enough."
"I'm sure it is... how old is he?"
"He's three and his mom left us a few months ago. I try everything to be a good dad and to do my work but it's really getting me down sometimes... I'm sorry I'm certainly bothering you."
"No, you're not. You know, now and then life seems too hard to manage but you'll see even those times will go by. It wil get better." He smiled sadly at the poor guy. He knew exactly what it felt like when life was getting too much to handle.
"Yes maybe it will... I hope it will. I'm just so worried I don't care enough for him."
"You're little son surely knows his dad does everything that's possible. You're doing great. Just make sure he knows how much you love him... that's all that matters sometimes."
"I will. Thank you." And the young man really meant it. He felt so much better after talking to the old man. In the meantime the bus arrived and stopped in front of them. While getting in he turned towards the old man.
"You're not coming?"
"I'll take the next one. Take care."
When the bus drove away he sighed and leaned back. It was easy to give advice to foreigners. Easier than using them for his own life. He was a good listener and he always knew what to say to make them feel better. But none of this helped when he wasn't feeling better himself.
Not much time had passed when a girl abut thirteen years sat down next to him, crying and burying her face in her hands.
"What's wrong with you dear?"
"Nothing." The girl mumbled without looking up. She didn't feel like talking right now. But there was something soft and kind about this old man's voice. He reminded her very much of her own grandpa who died not long ago. She missed him so much... It didn't take long until she looked up after all and saw the old man gazing into space.
"You wanna talk about it?" He asked without looking at her.
"My parents are getting a divorce." She said without hesistation.
"Oh... that sucks." The old man didn't know what else to say.
The girl giggled quietly and for a moment forgot to cry. "It does. But you shouldn't be saying this."
The old man looked at her smiling. "Why not?"
"You're... I mean... old..."
He chuckled. "I guess I am."
They sat there silently together until the girl's bus arrived and she climbed in. "Don't you come?"
"No... I'll take the next one. Take care my dear. And don't worry too much."
The bus drove away and the old man was again lost in his thoughts until he heard two middle-aged women whispering too loud a few steps away from him.
"Did you know his wife died of cancer?" The first one said. She looked in the old man's direction. He felt his heart pondering hard against his chest. They were talking about him... He tried not to listen to what they had to say and turned in the other direction.
"Also I've never seen anyone visiting him. He lives all by himself in this huge house."
"Doesn't he have children or grandchildren?"
"I guess he does, but they probably aren't interested in him."
"Poor old man."
"I also heard he drinks a lot when he's at home... but then again he isn't at home very often. Sometimes the blinds are not even open during the day."
They both looked at him at the same time.
"He must be very sad."
"I bet he's just grumpy and mean. That's why noone wants to see him. Just look at him. Embittered old man."
He closed his eyes to think of something else that the situation he was in. When finally the bus came and the two gossips took it, he was very glad. He wouldn't want to hear another word of what they had to say. But to be honest, what shuld all this really be about? Why was he sitting here? What was he expecting? He was so absorbed in his thoughts, he didn't even reaize that someone had taken the seat next to him again.
"I've seen you here before" He heard a woman of older age saying.
The old man looked up to her.
The lady sitting there had a friendly face, a soft, calm voice and she was watching the old man. He nodded.
"I am waiting for the bus."
"I know you're not."
She knew the old man was sitting there day by day, morning 'till evening and had never taken any bus. Sometimes she watched him out of her kitchen window and asked herself why he seemed so deeply desolate.
He sighed again, for what it felt like the hundreds time toay.
"You're right. I'm not."
Suddenly he had the feeling he had to explain himself but he truly couldn't find the words to do so. So he just remained silent.
"It's ok you know. Sometimes I like staying outside, too. The house is so quiet when you're all alone."
He looked at her. Something told him that this was the moment he was waiting for, why he was sitting there all along. To finally not be alone anymore.
"Yes it really is... can I ask for your name?"
He smiled. "Sarah is a beautiful name."
Before he could say anything further they saw the bus coming.
"I think we should take it." She said while she rose and looked expectant at the old man. The bus came to a stop and the door opened. Slowly she went in. "What do you think? Are you coming?"
The old man looked around. He had never taken any bus and he wasn't even sure if he wanted to. But then, without thinking any further he stood up, smiled and took the bus of which he didn't even know the destination.
All rights belong to its author. It was published on e-Stories.org by demand of Nadine Müller.
Published on e-Stories.org on 24.03.2015.