It was the way the man with you gently stroked your hair back, like stroking a stunned injured bird who has just crashed into a clean window, that caught my attention. I had been reading and looked up only to give my neck some rest. It was beautiful, gentle, one loving stroke from your forehead back then his hand came to rest on his lap. He sat close but not oppressive, letting you know he was there to lean into, cry on, rely on, but giving you space.
Then I saw your black lashes blinking rapidly purposefully and the way you swallowed and pulled your lips in. Holding beautifully erect posture. I sensed you were fighting back tears bearing some kind of gentle sweet quiet grief. Unobtrusively you wiped your right cheekbone with the back of your right hand and did the same on the left leaving a bit of a sheen where a few errant tears had leaked out.
You must have sensed me watching you, I apologize for my intrusion. Lost in your grief but not so lost you couldn’t find a kind smile for a stranger.
Brave so brave to be holding it together on the bus. The sobs inside waiting to break free were palpable. I still feel them and am near crying tears for you at the same time I’m grateful for your kind smile.