We are seniors
No longer freshmen

Lives within us
Promising a cocky confidence

We assume the freshmen
Will turn to us
For wisdom
And advice

Instead, they reverberate
With bustling expectation
Of their own possibilities
Their own awaited promises

They nod vague respect in our direction
But we are mostly a passing thought
Our time dwindling
Our term at this institution
Nearing graduation’s end

Photo source: Walk the Goats


The Offer

The woman boards the bus
Her hair white, face creased
Skin loose
Yet her step firm. Steady

Would you like my seat? I ask
My hair dusted pepper-gray

Is there a slight hesitancy
A pause
A flickered frown
As she considers my offer?

She glances down the aisle
To the overflowing seats
Negotiates with her inner voices

She exhales slightly
Turns back toward me
Her deep brown eyes reflect decades of living
Her lips hold a whisper of humor
Some understanding
Just beyond my grasp

Then, with a calm surrender, she accepts
Why yes, thank you

Photo source: Walk the Goats


Power in a Number

Pixabay: 526663. Free for commercial use; no attribution required

“What’s your phone number?” she asks.

“5226,” they answer.

She experiences a moment of confusion.

Then she remembers: everyone in this village has the same 6-digit area code and prefix. It’s been like that for years. If you’re a local and you’re asked for your number, you give just four digits.

When you’re a local, you know that.

When you’re a tourist, you ask for the rest of the number.

She nods, and says nothing, feeling grateful for the quiet implication that, having once lived in this village, she is still being treated like a local.

Or, she thinks darkly, maybe she is being tested as a tourist.

It was a quiet way to reveal those connected to the area from those just passing through.

Despite having roots going back generations, she hadn’t lived here for decades. She visited once-a-year; saw old friends; attended social events. But, in many ways, she was, really, always just passing through. Always slightly on the edge.

Yet, she yearned to belong; to feel the place like one feels their own skin.

In that brief moment of asking for a phone number, and the silence that followed, she understood. These local, childhood roots would endure forever within her; they would co-exist with her life thousands of miles away. They couldn’t be separated nor could they exist apart. In that, she belonged.  Both there. And here.

Photo source: 52663 on Pixabay