05 January 2010

The Addict

Nothing political this time; just a true story from today...

It was about ten minutes before the bus would arrive. It was blustery and flurrying out and I was grateful to have a shelter on this corner. In a lot of places you have to wait in the wind by the bus stop sign. Inside this shelter was an old man, coughing and spitting on the pavement.

"You waiting for the bus?" he asked.


"It should be here about ten minutes," he said.


"You don't smoke, do you?"

"No, I don't."

"Okay," he coughed.

A car pulled up to the curb near the stop. The old man was up from the bench and out of the bus shelter by the time the driver got out of the car.

"You don't have a cigarette, do you?"


"Thanks anyway."

The man from the car walked into a building on the corner, glaring for a moment at the old man who came shuffling back inside the shelter. At our feet were cigarette butts, most of them just filters. The old man tried his luck, picking a butt up and lighting it up. He coughed and spat and threw the butt back on the pavement.

"Can you watch my bags?" he asked me. He had a couple of black convenience store shopping bags on the bench beside him.


He stepped out of the shelter. He'd seen a woman walking down the block across the street.

"Miss? Miss?" he called to her, waving his arms. She heard him and turned to look his way. He mimed smoking, extending his left arm, bending it toward his mouth and extending it again.

"You don't smoke, do you?"

I couldn't hear if she answered. She kept on walking, and he came back into the shelter.

"Cold day," he said, "That bus should be here soon."

In a few minutes it was.

1 comment:

hobbyfan said...

Pure poetry, Sammy.