I have to admit that my ego has taken a beating what with getting dumped and all. But time has helped and I was beginning to feel like my old self (a phrase that I will never again use) when two different people offered me a seat on the bus this week.
I’d like to say that it was courteous men that offered hoping to curry my favor but it was young women both times. I smiled a thank you and refused politely.
I spent the rest of the ride holding on to the pole trying to appear surefooted with a frozen expression on my face and in my heart. What is it about me that I appeared so fragile that these girls would feel the need to give up their seats to me?
I’m sixty nine, not ninety. I dye my hair, a pleasing blonde, if I do say so myself. True, I haven’t had any work done, no lift, fillers or botox but hell, this is New York, not Hollywood.
When I look in the mirror I don’t see my twenty five year old self but I don’t burst into tears either. Clearly I’m wrong. What does the world see that I don’t?
I remember visiting my grandmother when I was a teen ager. She was going through her closet pulling out colorful cotton dresses.
“See? I like bright colors. I don’t dress like an old lady.” Then she said almost to herself “Inside I’m still a young girl”.
Is it that inside girl that I’m seeing when I look in the mirror?
I’m not totally blind. On occasion I am surprised when I’m in a department store and I catch a reflection of an older woman picking up the same black sweater that I’m looking at only to realize that that woman is me. I admit that’s a shock but I usually put it down to shopping makes me tired and if I tweak my make up I’ll look better.
Not everyone feels the way I do. I was on the bus yesterday, seated thankfully, when the frazzled woman across from me with a bunch of packages and two weepy kids said
“Would you like a seat?” to a thin, older woman (I say older but she wasn’t much older than I am, she might even have been the same age or a little younger, and she was wearing sneakers which suggests athleticism in anyone’s book).
In a clear voice the woman answered “Yes I would, thank you”
And she watched the younger woman struggle to her feet trying very hard not to drop any of her parcels and plopped herself down with a true sense of entitlement.
If I had been the recipient of that woman’s kindness, obviously I would have refused it and I would have spent the remainder of the trip trying to keep my sobs from becoming an irritant to the other passengers.