"Nobody really listens to me…"

He looked weak. Fatigued.

He kept fiddling with his ring finger of his left hand. It had obviously been home to a wedding band for a very long time — the pale skin reflected that much.

“Nobody really listen to me. Even when she died… my family, they don’t do no listening.”

He had deep brown eyes, eyes that spoke of the suffering he’d been through. They were framed by the darkened skin that comes from many sleepless nights and bouts with crying. He was all too familiar with pain at this point.

“She was my life, you know? I met that girl back on the beach, she paid me no mind. It took me a loooong time to get her, hoo man. She was worth waitin’ for. We got married in Louisiana. She was born there…”

He can’t even look at me anymore. Being so brave, trying to hard. He just wants someone to listen, he says. He wrings his wrinkled hands as his face grows dark. He’s lonely and scared now, he tells me.

“We was married for over thirty years. That shit jus’ don’t happen no more. Jus’ don’t happen.”

He glanced around, wary. “My stop is comin’. I jus’ get on here ‘n ride to the store… ride home. Nothin’ left for me to do. She died… and so did I. I jus’ do this because it’s what I do.”

He wouldn’t let me take a picture of his face. He said it was too old, too tired.

He smiled a little as he left the bus. Probably for the first time in a long time. Might even be the last. He told me that he doesn’t expect to make it to winter, nor does he want to.

——

“Take our picture!”

“Hmm?”

“Take our picture! We want our pictures taken. You a photographer?”

“Not really. It’s a hobby…”

“C’mon, here, take it.”

They were overheated and anxious for the bus to arrive. The eldest, standing behind the rest, seemed to have taken on a role as caretaker. They looked to her before really acting or speaking. The one in the center was painfully shy of the camera, and hid for every shot I tried. Before I had a chance to really enagage them in conversation, the bus arrived. I wish I knew where they were going.

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