Love At All Stops

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Here’s a short story that I wrote some time ago that’s a reminder that sometimes spending time with a person is all that they need. Love can be expressed in many different ways…

Love At All Stops

Laura looked down at her watch… the line in Starbucks was extremely long this morning with everyone trying to satisfy their coffee craves before work. Laura tapped her feet gently against the ceramic tile, debating whether she should forgo her latte. As much as she hated to walk away, she couldn’t afford to miss her bus. Luckily, to her amazement, another register opened up. The person in front of her stepped up to place their order.

This brought a smile to Laura’s face. She was one step away from getting out of here.

“Good morning. May I help you, ma’am?”

Laura walked up to the counter. “Yes, may I have a French Vanilla Latte and an Almond Roasted Coffee, please,” she said, handing over her credit card. She looked down at her watch. She had three minutes to spare.

The cashier swiped her card and handed it back to her. Laura stepped to the side as she attempted to wait patiently for her order. She looked out the window at the bus stop. There was still a small crowd waiting. She exhaled nervously as she fixed her scarf around her neck. She couldn’t miss her ride.

“Here’s your latte and coffee, ma’am.”

Laura turned around to retrieve her coffee holder. She excused her way towards the front door. The cold air sliced her face with a vengeance as she stepped outside. She ran across the street to the bus stop. She could see it in clear sight now – only one block away!

Laura took her place in line as the bus cruised up to the curb. She stepped onto the plank and inserted her bus pass.

“Good morning, my dear friend,” Samson, the bus driver greeted her.

“How are you doing, Samson?” she asked, removing his bag from the seat behind him. Samson always saved her seat.

“Oh, you know this old fellow can’t complain… I’m just happy to be in the land of the living – one more day,” he said, waving to the boarding passengers.

Laura looked around. The bus was full this morning. She removed her leather gloves and placed them in her left pocket.

“This bus ride wouldn’t be the same without you,” she responded, adding creamer to Samson’s Almond Roasted Coffee.

“Oh, they’d just find someone else to do the job. People have to get to work you know…the person just wouldn’t look as good as me,” he added, giving her a GQ pose in the mirror.

Laura chuckled. Samson was meant to be a comedian in another life; she was sure of it.

“Just the way you like it,” Laura said, handing him his cup of coffee.

“Oh thank you. You know just how to take care of this old man. Should we continue from Friday?”

“Yes, I’ve been eager to hear about the ending all weekend…”

Laura snuggled in her little corner with her head rested against the window. She loved to hear Samson speak about his childhood memories in England. It truly made her day. He spoke with such authority that made her feel like she was living the experience with him all over again. She closed her eyes slowly as she envisioned every word that he spoke. Even though there were other passengers on the bus, she felt like they were alone, sharing one heartbeat, as he told her a story about his childhood friend Gert… the troublemaker that led Samson down an adventurous path that luckily didn’t land him in juvie.

Laura didn’t notice the bus stopping or passengers getting on or off. She just knew she was in Samson’s head, enjoying the stories he loved to share with her every weekday morning. Since retiring from her family business, Laura found herself getting up in the morning with nowhere to go and no one to spend her time with throughout the day. That is, until she decided to ride the bus to the local library a year ago. It happened to be Samson’s route. His kindness won her over in their first encounter, as he saw right through her lonely state and offered up a friendly conversation that touched the heart of this sixty-year-old woman. Everyone else was getting on the bus to go to work, but she was enjoying a wonderful ride with a beloved friend. A friendship that she has grown to cherish and wouldn’t want to live without…

Hours later, Samson’s voice began to slow down. Laura knew what time it was. She reluctantly opened her eyes, dreading the moment that awaited her every morning. The bus was empty, back at the stop where she had originally boarded two hours ago. Instead of going straight to the office, Samson always brought her back home first.

“Samson, I wish I could have been there with you. You know how to tell a good story,” Laura said.

“Yeah, it was a sight to see. I’ll have another one for you tomorrow. Will I see you then?” he asked, turning around to give her a wink.

“You know I wouldn’t miss it. I look forward to seeing you tomorrow,” she said with a smile. She gathered her things, touched the arm of his coat, and got off the bus.

He waved goodbye and waited like a gentleman for her to walk a few feet away from the bus before pulling away from the curb. Laura turned on her heels to start the one block walk to her apartment.

The sun was shining bright now, but it did nothing for her heart like the words of her dear friend, Samson.

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