It’s a quiet morning as the little girl and her mother and the old man take their seats on the bus.
“Destinations?” the bus driver queries and they tell him. “Looks like you’re my only passengers this morning. We’ll be arriving soon. Want some music?”
“Ooh! Yes please!” the girl says.
As soft music begins to play over the speakers and the bus pulls into traffic, the little girl looks up at her mother longingly and says “Mom, do you think the nice man will dance with me?”
“Oh, sweetie, I don’t think you–”
“I’d love to dance.” The old man stands up and offers his hand to the girl, bowing politely. The girl squeals with delight and takes his hand, her face shining with more brilliance than the sun itself.
“What is your name?” the man asks as he bends down to dance with her.
“Sarah. What’s yours?”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Sarah. My name is Carl.”
They dance slowly in silence for a moment, swaying with the irregularities of the bus’s movements, enjoying the gentle ballad that has them captivated.
“You’re a very good dancer, Sarah.” Carl smiles down at her. “You remind me of my own daughter when she was your age.”
Sarah looks up at Carl with sincere eyes and a tender smile.
“Where is your daughter now?”
Carl looks off into the distance at the vivacious, blushing dogwood trees that line the street for miles. “She’s all grown up now. I haven’t seen her in a while.”
“How long is a while?”
Carl spins Sarah daintily around, under his arm and back to his hands again.
“You should call her.”
Sarah’s smile is so very infectious and Carl cannot help but laugh.
“I wish it was that easy.”
They dance in serenity until the ballad ends and Sarah and Carl return to their seats.
“Mom, why doesn’t Daddy ever dance with me?”
“Oh, sweetie, I’m sure he would if you asked him to.”
“I’ll ask him tonight.”
The rest of the ride they sit in peace, wandering through the mazes of their thoughts and imaginations. Only when the driver calls back to Carl to tell him they had arrived at his destination do they find their mazes’ exits and escape their introversion.
Carl stands up to leave the bus, but stops by Sarah’s seat.
“Thank you for dancing with me. You took my mind off of sad things for a little while.”
“I will never forget you,” Sarah says.
Carl chuckles and walks to the front of the bus. Before stepping onto the street, he turns back and looks into Sarah’s clear hazel eyes; a moment of connection before he is gone.