Tag Archives: language

The Erosion of Confidence

“Does this bus go to Kroger?” I look up from my book. “No.”
Roughly my age, the slender man has a thick accent,
sturdy clothes the color of mustard, a grey cloche,
and a deeply lined face. He nods, tired, but intent.
“Does this bus go to Kroger?” “No,” I repeat, “it doesn’t.”
“Oh.” He glances down. “Does this bus go to Meijer’s?”
“No.” “Oh.” He cups his hands in his lap, patient.
A block later, he repeats, “Does this bus go to Kroger?”,
pauses, then adds, “You see?” and shows me a paper,
his prescription. He tries to pass it to me, but,
embarrassed, I don’t take it. “If you need a drug store,
there is one on the corner here. See?” I point.
He looks, obedient. “Get off at this next stop,” I add,
as I do so. He nods. The bus drives on. I watch, sad.