A Present Waits


I walked on in the light rain side stepping around the puddles placing themselves in my path, I thought about why sidewalks in this part of town were so scarce. Gazing upwards at the three and four story tenement houses surrounding these streets the reason came to me without having to chatter to myself. I walked on to get to the bus stop, sidewalks coming into being then disappearing for blocks then starting up again only to fade before I could walk twenty steps.

Under my arm which was under the big black umbrella I carried your present covered in an old dry cleaning bag protecting it from the wet above and the splashes below. Every few feet I would look down at the package and smile thinking of you and wondering if you’d love this gift I was bringing to you.

At the bus stop I was the only one waiting, cars and trucks flew past leaving a rooters tail of mist shooting up into the sky hoping to beat the red traffic lights capricious nature. As they flew past I smiled under my big black umbrella thinking it could be any city in America where drivers  just look straight ahead missing everything around them, their passengers blank stares catching my eye and missing my smile.

Deftly I looked at my watch without anyone noticing and saw it was noon, time for the bus to be here to take me to you. Almost before I could look up my ears heard the dirty roar of diesel rumbling toward me and the metal grabbing of wet breaks as the bus stopped in front of me, climbing the steps holding your present tightly paying the fare I found a seat among all the empty seats hanging my black umbrella on the seat in front of me  and sat with your present on my knees.

The bus roared off down any main street chugging and lurching as it inched forward, squealing and hissing as it was made to stop. I thought about how excited you would be when I knocked on your door and handed you the present. Out from under the plastic I’d pull the neatly wrapped deep blue box all tied with yellow string inviting you to sit and unwrap it.

Click click click the fare box on the bus wrenched me from my daydream,  looking up I saw two young working girls making their way toward the seat in front of me, I quickly move my umbrella to make room, the taller one smiles mouthing thank you. They are in their twenties radiating a youth that covers them like a transparent egg shell and before I can catch myself leering they both turn in their seats and smile at me.

Quickly I’m pulled into their eyes so fresh and vital my hearts aches. The taller of one asks me what I’m carrying?” It’s a present” I stammer all tongue tied and gurgly. The girls look at each other with pouted smiles that could only be for my benefit. My thoughts drift to them and I wonder if they know they now belong to me, they are mine to take home for a rainy day just like today.

The bus lurches forward almost throwing me to the floor then stops and the girls get up to leave, turning back waving and smiling they are gone before I can end my daydream, before I can take them home I realize I have your present all wrapped up and on my knees. I think about how you would forgive me of my fantasy but just to be sure I’ll not tell you.

I climb the 13 wooden steps to your door my umbrella now under my arm the clouds parting to send a sliver of sun to your door. I think about how you would point out the  poetic nature of such a moment and I stop to breathe it into me so I can save it for you. I reach out ringing the door bell waiting for you to throw open the double wooded doors welcoming me hugging me kissing me but there is no answer.

Walking around your house carrying the present I have for you I look in every window only to see empty rooms, only to see no signs of you. Confused I sit on the porch swing holding your present on my lap swing back and forth wondering where you could be. The silver of sun passes by fading into evening and I swing back and forth with our present on my lap wondering where you could be

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