Sunday, April 29, 2012
I never look to see if someone is wearing a wedding band. Why would I care? Never… Except when I see someone sleeping in public. I can’t help it. People who fall asleep in public are a fascination, almost a hobby but not quite that cynical.
I’m not saying I always notice each and every person I encounter who happens to have fallen asleep in public, but if I do notice them, I in.
The first thing I look for, and I’m not quite sure why, is a wedding band. Are they married? Or do they, at least, think they are married?
Today, at the local tea shop where we often come to do work, there was a flanneled man with long white grey hair and a collar-length white beard - a cast boot on his right, broken foot -who happened to fall asleep while lounging at the Teapot. His legs were stretched out, his posture relaxed, his arms bent at awkward angles. I craned my neck, up out of my laptop and book, stretching to see his hidden, left hand, no more than five feet away.
Although he had been asleep for a while, my stare must have shaken him awake. His eyes popped open, staring straight at me. I offered an embarrassed smile, as that was all I could offer, being so blatantly caught, and my eyes returned to my laptop as he gathered up his plastic bags, murmuring a grumble to himself. He got up off the couch he had made his bed, checked his balance and the weight he could out on his injured foot, and his right side profile walked unevenly out of the front door.
I never got to see if he was wearing a wedding band or not, but I like to imagine that he left to return home where his wife had made him stew - a nice, thick, warm meal for the unexpected chill of this late spring day. He would remove his layer of flannel and sit with her, sharing the events of their days. She went to the grocery store. He caught an odd girl staring at him for no reason while he sat, bothering no one, at his favorite teashop.