Posted: 23 January 2008 at 12:26am
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~~ This is story is not an original, but I read something like this on an email forwarded to me by some one, I couldn't find it, so I wrote this one. It's an adaptation of the email. ~~
Every day I used to travel on a bus to go to school. Almost every day I met a woman on the bus who gave me a friendly smile and greeted me with a hello. Although, we didn't talk much, I appreciated her smile and the greeting and looked eager for her smile as I got on to the bus.
The woman did not show up on the bus one day, or the next day or even the next day. I was beginning to worry about her. Exactly ten days later, the woman showed up on the bus. I saw her sitting by the window staring vacantly at the empty station. She didn't look toward the door, she did not greet me with her customary smile nor she wished me. I was hurt but shrugged it off.
This went on for three days, I tried to smile at her went about greeting her hello anyway. The fourth day I sat together with my friends and the topic quickly turned to the woman at the window.
Sheela started complaining that the woman is rude and she doesn't smile or greet anyone anymore and that she hated people like that who are so self-involved. I tried to defend her but when every one started attacking the woman, sat and listened to them uncomfortably.
The fourth day, I did not sit next to my friends but ambled my way to the woman slowly. I was determined to talk to her and find out if everything was OK. As I sat next to her, she looked at me and recognized me. She did not smile but she nodded her acknowledgement. The next few minutes ticked by painfully, and I finally opened my mouth and said, "Nice day outside, isn't it?"
She looked outside and replied quietly, "Yes, it does seem to be!"
"I hope everything is OK, I missed seeing you when you were not here. I like traveling on this bus because I like seeing your lovely smile everyday when I board the bus. I have been traveling on it since I was ten." I said a little self-consciously. "In fact your smile reminds me of sunshine on an otherwise gloomy day."
She burst into tears, completely taking me by surprise. She composed herself after a little while and responded in a small voice. "you are the first person who ever asked me how I was feeling after I came back. I have been traveling on the bus for the last ten years, and have smiled and greeted every one who boarded the bus, the same way I have greeted you. But no one asked me what's wrong with me and why I haven't been on the bus lately." She smiled weakly.
For reasons unknown, I reached over and touched her hand gently. "I think there is something wrong, it is unlike you not to be your warm self. I don't want to intrude, but is there anything I can do to help?"
She turned toward me and said, "If you didn't come and sat next to me today, today would have been the last day on the bus. You see, I had been considering quitting this route altogether and taking a different bus. About thirteen days ago, I lost my husband and my only child in an accident. I don't have much family around and I was feeling depressed and at times, even considered doing drastic things."
We sat in silence for a while and when my destination came, I turned toward her and said in a small voice, "If you ever need to talk to me, I am here! Please consider me part of your family."
She smiled through the tears, it was like the sun was coming out from behind the clouds, not true sunshine yet, but she will get there eventually.
Reach out and touch some one, a warm smile, a fleeting touch, a tentative hug will change some one's life.