Funny thing happened yesterday.

I was at the Lionel Groulx bus stop, waiting for the 405 to take me home. It was four and already dark, the weather a bitch – snow driving almost horizontal. Usually when it snows it isn’t that cold, but yesterday, it was a bi… really really really cold.

Melancholy engulfed me suddenly. Happens, where there’s hardly a soul around and no one ta talk to. Everything was dark, damp, cold, freezing cold. My Bose headphones were itching, sweat making it hard to keep them on but I had ta, unless I wanted frostbitten ears.

I had forgotten my ear muffs at home. The Persian woman had washed ’em and strung them out ta dry but I hadn’t noticed. She doesn’t bother to tell me anything these days. She loves me but doesn’t let me cuddle her no more. To my married male friends in their 60s, has this happen to you? If it hasn’t it will, brace yoreselves. The loss of the right ta cuddle is a grave human rights issue, especially when you have a woman who is cuddly as hell.

As I stood there in the driving snow, my Ma’s words, ‘ Tui to boro hoye bidesh jabi re, koto berabi….’ suddenly sprang in from nowhere, smothering Graham Nash and his ‘Prison Song’. I tore the headphones from my ears. The urge ta get on the next flight home was overpowering. Even if she isn’t there anymore.

I wasn’t aware when the 405 had come and parked right there in fronta me. The folks before me in the queue had already scrambled in, to get out of the cold. ETD had arrived, the bus was ready ta leave, the door still open equalizing the inside temp with the ambient at a frenetic pace. Temperature equalizes just the same as osmosis and diffusion. I am showing off. Sorry.

The wind had acquired a sort of roar, but there I was, was just standing there, blocking entry for those behind me – waiting, not saying a word, waiting for me to get in. Canada is a land of graciousness and courtesy and I was stretching it like a bi…an idiot.

The driver, a middle-aged woman, unbuckled herself and rose, the air-cushioned seat lifting with a sigh and she came over to the door and peered into my eyes and noted that I was crying. She took my hand in hers and said in French what meant, “Why don’t you come in? You’ll feel better inside. I want to get home too, but what can I do? I still have this ride and back ta do.” And she gave me a soft smile and pulled me inside.

A girl, probably not more than twennie, had been listening to the exchange – she rose and wave me to her seat, “I’m getting off at Lachine anyway,” and smiled. I turned and saw the folks I had been holding up getting in. They had no irritation, no rancor in their eyes.

By the time I got off at Sainte Anne, I had a spring in my step.