I have a sad story again. Can't stop thinking about it and apologies, I can't tell it straight.
I was on the bus from NYC to Boston. There are the usual suspects: another college student, several Chinese and Indian tourists, a nun, a twenty-some couple with their eight-month-old daughter, and a very fat fool of a man. Look, I couldn't help but detest him. His breathing caught thick and short and he was all pink and emitted even more heat than I do. He was traveling alone, laughing a big whooping "HAH!" to himself every so often when he wasn't trying to engage the driver in conversation. Did you know he killed Lee Harvey Oswald? In 1971 (Oswald was shot in 1963).
He notices the baby. "Oh you are beautiful. You are gorgeous! I wish I had a little baby like you. I'll make all the funny faces for you. You must be such proud parents."
And he starts singing, "You are beautiful, you are beautiful, that is for very sure."
The baby gapes -- probably only sure that she's being adored -- until he cuts short for a big belly breath. This is when her expression twists into a grimace. Parents and caretakers certainly know the jolt of fear which accompanies that face. I braced myself. The impeding cry!
Across the aisle, the man's face fell and he crumpled into his seat. He was so soft, shy and boyish now as he faced the front windshield again.
Without looking at the happy couple, his eyes bore into one of the vacant seats surrounding him. "I'm very happy for you. I wish I had a babe to love."
I felt guilty all the way to Boston and was very glad when the Lucky Star pulled in to South Station.
What upsets me is my reaction to this. My thoughts and conclusions consist of worries that I should end up as fat, delusional, and alone as this poor fellow. And while I call him a poor fellow and say I felt guilty for finding him disgusting, it's difficult for me to garner much empathy for him. Horrible and horribly, annoyingly self-aware.