A Public Lover’s Spat
I was standing at the bus stop, one fall day, waiting for the bus that goes up the hill. Two people, girl and guy, walk up to the bus stop as well; she’s yelling something the whole time, and he’s just quietly following her. They stand behind me at the stop, and she keeps yelling. His words become increasingly irritated, louder, and more insistent.
Because they get louder, I eventually figure out what they’re arguing about. She lives nine blocks up the hill, which is why they’re standing at the stop. But neither of them want to take the bus, it seems. He wants to walk her all the way up the hill to her house. He wants to spend as much time as possible with her, and walking means more quality time. She protests at this because she thinks it’s stupid; why walk when his truck is parked just around the corner and he could just drive her there?
They get so loud that I turn and stare in fascination. He has sat down on a curb behind me (there’s a raised parking lot with curbs before the public sidewalk I’m standing on) and has started to smoke. I stare in little bits, trying to be polite and not too obvious in my eavesdropping. He finally looks at me after she says something.
“Look, you’re a woman. If a man tells you that he wants to walk you home, even if it’s nine blocks up, what would you say?”
“Well,” I tell both him and her, “I’d let him be stupid and walk me home. He’s trying to be a gentleman, even if that means being stupid.”
This only fuels the argument more, only on a quieter, gentler note. I hear, “I have to drive all the way to Arizona tonight, and I want to spend as much time as I can with you.” I catch glances of him standing behind her with his arms wrapped around her in silence. It looks funny because he’s tall and thin and she’s short and fat. And they’re standing in the middle of a parking lot.
Eventually, she trudges up the hill and he walks down to the intersection and across the street to his truck that is indeed, just barely in sight, around the corner.
I watch him open his phone and call someone. I wonder if it’s another girl in Arizona, but maybe he’s clocking in. His truck is a huge silver and red rig. I can see that he just didn’t want to maneuver that huge thing into traffic, up the street, turn around again, and head down to Arizona.
They both looked unhappy; neither of them got what they wanted. Instead, they parted at an empty, barren parking lot behind a bus stop.