Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
He stands up when the little old lady comes through the doors, since there are no available seats in his section of the U-Bahn. It is not a crowded mid-day, not a rush hour, but so many are sitting with newspapers covering their faces, like shy movie extras. The non-descript Austrian businessman sets himself apart by his politeness.
Yet, the old woman doesn’t see him rise, doesn’t notice him clearing a place, as she is deep in discussion with her pint-sized dog.
He is then compelled to stand in the aisle and crowd against two teenage girls with overly thin eyebrows that lift then drop with annoyance as they hold their ground. His knees bend like Chaplin, but he hovers, stands again. This tall man tries to take up no space, tries to go back to being part of the crowd as he reddens and shifts.
Finally, the woman seems to be looking toward him, her head tilting up from her sole companion, but she is only in a trance, staring past the open seat with his act and gaze of kindness.
At the next stop, the misguidedly chivalrous man of the U-Bahn exhales. He opt to exit in an embarrassed rush. And he pushes through the unmoving passengers, jostling the old woman who tsk-tsks to her dog before she notices a vacant seat.