Creative Non-Fiction Short Stories. :) Travel, Oldsters, Love, and Compassion.
There’s an older man who works at the parking lot of a bank near my apartment. He wears a polo shirt that declares he is Security. He has a lanyard. He stands at the barricade arm by the lot entrance, waiting for the occasional car to arrive every hour or so, watching passersby in silence. I always greet him, I always grin, as it is my nature, and he humors me with a nod and a “Kezeit csókolom,” a kind greeting that’s roughly: “I am kissing your hands.” Or sometimes he says, “Kézcsók,” which is more half-hearted kissing of any hand in particular, but I don’t mind.
Today, a younger guard arrives on an electric scooter, then he stops and offers the ominous invention to his senior colleague. “Try it,” the offer is clear, as is my guard’s practical hesitance. I pause to watch, pretending to hunt through my purse for nothing in particular so I can blamelessly loiter, so I can wait to see if he will step up and enjoy himself.
I want him to try it. He holds one side of the handlebar, still standing on the pavement, inspecting this vehicle with unease. A teenaged girl races by on an identical machine. He watches her depart. Now I desperately want him to try it, to enjoy what he clearly wants to attempt. After what I consider to be a suspenseful uncertainty, he declines. He hands it back, puts his arms at his waist, watches the colleague leave.
I realize I wanted him to try because I want this for myself. I’ve grown accustomed to standing securely where I am. Even though I know what I gain when I’m willing to ride into the unknown, who I can become when I step up. So I greet my guard without judgment as I pass, and he gives me a half-smile as he nods. Maybe I should have more fun on behalf of us both. Maybe I should try.