From the recording The Anatomy of Melancholy
At a Bus Stop – Emily Stewart
Daddy said he was going out for cigarettes and the Sunday paper.
“The Sunday paper must be hard to find on a Thursday morning”, thought the son. It was understandable then that daddy took such a long to find one. Fourteen long years to be exact.
He found him at the bus stop of the 39 line. He had aged, but it was the same far away gaze and crooked stony shoulders slightly leaning to the left. “Like the tower of Pisa” his mother used to say. He sat next to the man, lit a cigarette and waited. For what, he didn’t really know. The 39 bus perhaps. That was a comforting thought.
The man that had been father turned towards him with the begging eyes of someone out of tobacco. So he hadn’t found the cigarettes either that long-lost day. His eyes betrayed not a flicker of recognition during the silent transaction. They both puffed away, the older man staring out into the street, the younger one examining the random patterns of the pavement cracks. It was beginning to rain, and the son began to wonder why he had sat down next to the man.
Suddenly a light flickered in the distance, and the bus crawled to the stop. The man gently put his hand on the son’s shoulder. It was a whisper of a touch, but the hand recognized a stony shoulder like the one it hung from. The man let something fall and ran into the rain. The son looked up and saw father vanishing behind the glass windows of the bus, a faint smile on his lips. His eyes lowered to find a bouquet of paper resting on his lap. The son also smiled. There it was: the Sunday paper.