A Joy All Her Own – A Poem

They greeted each old-man-on-bus-3

other like old

friends. They sat

in the front

of the bus

and I was

only a seat

away from them.

The woman spoke

first, the smile

on her face

giving joy to

her voice. She

motioned to the

man as if

he had already

spoken to her.

“I’m on my way to see someone at the office that runs the shelter. They say they might have an apartment for me.”

Her eyes lit

up with undeniable

happiness, giving a

glow to her

dark skin. The

man across from

her was older

and kept readjusting

his ball cap.

He gave her

a toothy grin.

“You’re on the way to get an apartment. That’s fantastic. I’m so happy for you!”

“Yes, well, I’m a little worried.”

“Why, you should be dancing! I danced for an entire night when the mens shelter found me an apartment. A whole home, just for me!”

She thought about

it for a

moment before responding.

“That’s what I’m worried about. There are one hundred and forty of us at the shelter. I won’t have to fight for the shower anymore!”

She smiled at

this simple gift.

“Imagine that, not fighting for the shower!”

“Or the toilet. Or wearing flip flops to the bathroom!”

“Oh, won’t that be nice.”

She said, her

face filled with

childlike joy so

potent the front

of the bus

seemed to shine.

“I wonder what I’ll do first.”

She said happily.

“I think maybe I’ll make the bed. Won’t that be wonderful? Or maybe clean the place from top to bottom.”

Her face crumpled

slightly and the

joy slipped a

little from her

face. When she

spoke next, her

voice was softer.

“I’m afraid though.”

“Why are you afraid? You’ll have a place all your own!”

“That’s what I’m afraid of. I haven’t been alone for so long. There has always been someone nearby, sometimes too close.”

“Then you have to get to know yourself. This is a gift, a joy!”

I watched the

woman nod enthusiastically.

“Do you live with anyone? Is there someone waiting at home for you?”

The man nodded.

“My fiancée.”

“Oh, what’s her name?”

“She hasn’t told me yet. But she will.”

It was then

that I realized

they didn’t know

each other and

were just meeting

for the first

time. I wondered

why they would

just start talking

to each other

as if they

were old friends.

Perhaps they saw

the same spark

in each other,

the same otherness

that set them

apart from everyone

else. The woman

rang the bell.

“Are you getting off here?”

“Yes, you going straight to their office?”

“Yes, to be shown my apartment!”

Her whole face

smiled. Gently, the

man shook his

head as they

moved towards the

door. He held

out his hand

to the woman.

“No, your joy. A joy all your own.”

Her face smiled

more brightly than

before and she

took his hand.

“Yes, my joy. A joy all my own.”

The bus stopped

and I watched

them for as

long as I

could, before the

bus zoomed away

leaving the woman

and her joy

behind me but

with me at

the same time.

One Comment on “A Joy All Her Own – A Poem

  1. How wonderful!

    Remind me to tell you a similar story from when I volunteered at a shelter.

Leave a comment

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: