by Rusty Meimerstorf
Mind if we converse? Talk? Chat a bit?
Mind if I ask why? How come you don’t want to talk to me? What did I ever do to you? I mean, is it me personally or are you just in no mood to talk to anyone?
You’re not going to answer me?
Ok, that’s fine. I’ll just wait. I’ll just wait right here until you’re ready to act civilized and speak to me. We still have another ten blocks to go. There’s time.
Is it my voice? Is that it? Is it off putting? It is, isn’t it? It’s my voice. Of course it is. It’s been so high and whiney all my life, it’s not my fault, it isn’t. My grandfather had a high and whiney voice. He was awful. Nobody liked him. He was despised, honestly. But he did raise me to be a kind, thoughtful, well rounded person, so I’ll give him that.
And he paid for me to go to college. Bought my books, took me on fishing trips, gave me his last Arby’s curly fry like some kind of warm hearted, selfless hero. Son of a bitch, my grandfather was a good man. A decent man. Sure, he had a high and whiney voice, but the man was a legend. So, don’t be bad mouthing my granddad, you hear me?!?
Sorry. That was uncalled for. Sometimes I can get a little too excited. I apologize. Let’s change the subject, shall we?
It’s a lovely day. The sun is out, birds are chirping a pretty tune. What is that, Mozart? Bach?
It’s my body odor, isn’t it? You are repulsed by my lingering body odor, admit it. Well, excuse me, I had no idea I was seated next to a bloodhound! I bet you sniffed me out a mile away, huh? Let me just tell you something, not all of us can afford fancy shampoos and conditioners and loofahs and water. No! Some of us have to take spit baths at the local service station next to a guy trimming his nose hair forest with a teeny weeny pair of scissors. And at one point due to the alarming amount of cataracts in his eyeballs, he asks you to help him finish. And I do! For nothing but a hearty yet wet handshake and a simple nod before he walks away. So, how was your Monday?
Sorry. There I go again. You know, I think we got off on the wrong foot. Can we start over? Please?
These old, springy like bus seats sure does a number on my lower back.
Huh? No? Nothing? Not a thing? No response?
Is it my family? Do our respected families have a long standing feud stemming from years past? Do our mothers hate one another because of a sauce recipe? Did my father cheat your father out of thousands at the horse races? I mean, my dad doesn’t necessarily gamble unless you count going back for thirds for chili. But is that it? Do you want to speak to me but feel like you will be betraying your family? If that’s it, I get it. I understand completely, just give me a sign, anything, can be as simple as touching your ear or blinking your eyes.
You’re not doing anything. What, are you made of stone? Are you a statue? I’m starting to look like a crazy person chit chatting to myself.
Did I offend you in some way? I apologize if I did. I cannot think of a time since we’ve been on this bus that I may have said something offensive. But If I did, I’m sorry.
I like your shoes. And I’m not saying that just to smooth over anything else I may have uttered in the past five to ten minutes that may have been intolerable to you. I really do like your shoes.
Oh, I see you have a book on your lap. What are you reading? Is it good? Are you almost finished reading it? Would you recommend it?
Am I supposed to ask the magic question or something? Is that what I’m supposed to do? Is that why you have yet to speak to me because I have not asked the one magic question?
Is it like Jeopardy? Who is or What if or How does? Is that it? Is that what I am supposed to do?
I’m losing my mind. I am going to lose my mind. I have never wanted so badly for someone to speak to me. Just one measly word. One tiny, microscopic word is all I ask for. It’s all I want.
Why are you denying me this one simple thing. Are you trying to break me? Is that your goal? Is this some sort of sick, twisted, mind controlling game? You are sick! I’m crying! I cannot believe I am shedding actual tears. I haven’t cried in years, but low and behold, here I am, crying on a city bus in front of twenty or more people.
That’s it! I’m finished with this! You don’t want to talk to me, fine! Honestly, I don’t really want to talk to you. I don’t even know you. I have friends. I have lots of friends, and family that would love to talk to me, to hear of my day.
So, this is my stop.
Bye? Goodbye? So Long? See ya? Have a goodnight.
-Bus door closes-