Wandering Smiles and Bus Conversations

Thoughtfully I had chosen my spot on the bus that rainy day as it rode back to the city. It was March and the air was unseasonably heavy. The clouds hung on my eyelids, weighing me down after an entire day on campus. I looked over at Sean, feeling happy and nervous, and altogether too tired to express either of these emotions. We had only shared a handful of insightful conversations with one another and knowing there was a limited time frame on the opportunity for another, I suddenly felt a wave of life brush over my skin. Looking at him made me feel alive for the first time all day. I listened as he spoke of the months he lived in Hawaii. He reminded me of what it was like to leave home and only have yourself to rely on. Our lives, we found, mirrored a gypsy path and only recently had we both come back to Grand Rapids, returning to start before we went around the board again. As the bus neared our stop I remember looking up at him, seeing the way his body leaned into the bus as held the rail above him. Feeling small in comparison to him,  I swayed with the turning bus, as well.”Aren’t you afraid?” I asked just then, only to have him stare blankly back at me.

“Scared of what?” he asked, furrowing his eyebrows.

“Of living like this. Of always going and never stopping. Of never being able to shake this inner need to go.”

And I remember his response, because I think of it often when things are harder than they should be, when I need to feel comforted, when I remember why it is I fell in love with him and why I continue to be amazed with him. “Nah,” he replied, as he rang the bell for our stop. “I’ve given up worrying. future. And anyway, this part of me isn’t anything to be afraid of.”

My time to answer him ended as the bus driver opened the doors. Letting me off the bus first, Sean crossed the street and looked back me. “Have a good night,” he smiled. And like always, when I see his smile, I had to smile back.Sean Michaels Wandering Smile


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