he came to me as a traveling stranger
while I was sitting on a bus bench
staring off to the space before me
waiting for the next destination in my life.
I was not looking for a chat with anyone
while staring off and waiting.
A nudge struck the bottom of my arm
until I looked up to see the intruding source.
The traveling stranger's face looked like it had seen
so many different roads that were lined
on his hardened, tanned, beaten skin.
It was a warm face as he spoke to me
while he was looking towards the dirt ground.
His voice gave a little away of his age
when he whispered a mumble
that my ears could barely hear.
The traveling stranger smiled as he
recounted the steps that brought him
to the present day bench
where he was sitting now.
His life was at a crossroads
on a cloudy day such as this one.
The little wind blowing was
the direction that he had chosen to go.
The irony was the wind was blowing
the same direction for me that day.
He finally said that he was sixty-seven
and that he had seen half of this great world.
The sadness and madness of people.
It was the pockets of kindness that kept his spirit
and that glimmer kept him content.
The stranger started traveling the roads
twenty-one years ago, my age now.
He had worked and cared for his family
until the day a change was needed.
His child was old enough to move away
and the lady in his life disappeared.
So the search for living and change began.
His clothes looked the days had been hard.
A frayed jean jacket that was once blue,
jeans that matched with seasoned grit.
I put my head down to think of what he said
as I was at my own crossroads.
Trapped was how it all felt to me.
The winds were telling me north,
to be off the bench and walk
in order to get things straight
though I had nothing with me,
just what I had now.
By the time I lifted my head
to start to walk north to start over,
my traveling stranger was already gone.
October 17, 2017
© Andrew Scott - Just A Maritime Boy 2017