Four passengers on the evening downtown bus
In twilight wintry and dim,
Hid well from city cacophony
Simply silent, separate,
All content to watch for their stop:
Jericho Rd./ Avenue St. Anthony
Same route, same time, same seat
as yesterday and before
Four lives sharing air, space, heat
Co-existing, nothing more
The little girl sitting in the middle row
Had observed them all with care,
Assigning names to each one in turn:
The Well-Dressed Lady; and last
Sir Lonely Guy, whom both others seemed to spurn.
Maybe it was his feet,
Or his smell, or clothing, or
The way he slouched in his seat
His eyes always on the floor.
Little Girl clutched close her hand-made poster and tape
Heaving not a little sigh
She’d lost a possession, a prize.
Purple gloves, her aunt’s gift
Small to the rest of the world
But a dilemma most large to her own eyes
Aunt Jane’s present so sweet
She hoped would be lost no more
So she hung the colored sheet
Up right by the bus door
Well-Dressed Lady saw it and smiled at the girl,
Orchestra-Man walked on by.
Lonely Guy looked but didn’t say a thing.
Little Girl headed home
Disappointed but sure
The sign would work if she did some praying
Bedtime prayers complete
She threw in just one “please” more
What for God was no big feat,
Gloves returned to her door.
Next day Orchestra-Man strutted up with glee
A paper in his left hand
Brand-new flier for his next concert.
His poster masked her missing gloves
He said she should come, missing her look of hurt.
“It doesn’t mean defeat,”
She whispered down to the floor
“Well-Dressed Lady’s smile was sweet,
Maybe she’ll help me more.”
But Well-Dressed Lady brought her own poster next
Covering the whole right side
Of Little Girl’s hand-made flier.
“Good charity event!”
The usurping poster proclaimed
Sir Lonely Guy passed it with a look of ire
She tried to stay upbeat
She could still read “Looking For”
On her “Purple Gloves Lost” sheet
Should she expect much more?
Well-Dressed Lady and Orchestra-Man spoke some
Exchanging kind promises
To attend each other’s event.
Lonely Guy ignored them
Coming instead to Little Girl
Handing her a shabbily-wrapped little present
Little Girl’s heart skip-beat
Then hammered ahead once more
Lonely Guy went to his seat
Leaving her by the door.
The Well-Dressed Lady stopped chatting to wonder
And so did Orchestra-Man
At the gift opened by the child.
Purple gloves lay inside,
Bought at a Jericho Rd. shop
Lonely Guy pointed to her sign and smiled.
“Had money for a treat,”
He said, shrugging at the floor.
“Thought it might be really neat
To help someone else more.”
Mr. Orchestra-Man just scoffed at the sight,
The Well-Dressed Lady worried,
But Little Girl knew what he meant:
To give without getting,
To simply fill another’s need,
This brings happiness, peace and true contentment.
On the downtown bus seat,
Little Girl had a neighbor.
Who made her little heart beat
With love from her Savior.
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